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Full text of "Across Papua;"

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BOUGHT A'lTH T H (T INCOME OF THE 

FISKE ENDOWMENT FUND 

THE BEQUEST OF 

WILLARD FISKE 

LIBRARIAN OF THE UNIVERSITY 1868-1883 

1905 



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ACROSS PAPUA 



BEING AN ACCOUNT OF A VOYAGE BOUND, AND A 

MARCH ACROSS, THE TERRITORY OF PAPUA, WITH 

THE ROYAL COMMISSION 



BY 

COLONEL KENNETH MACKAY 
C.B., M.L.O. 

Auifior of " The YeUow Wme," " Out Back," etc. 



WITH FOKTY PLATES FROM PHOTOGRAPHS, AND A 
FOLDING ItAP 



WITHERBY & CO. 

326 HIGH HOLBORN LONDON 

1909 
Vi 

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MY ONE TIME COLLEAGUES 

AND 

FOR ALL TIME FRIENDS. 



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PREFACE. 

HAvnsTG always felt a deep interest in the dark 
races, I was naturally anxious to visit Papua, and 
eventually my opportunity came in a manner 
totally unexpected and by a path hedged with 
responsibility; the Prime Minister of the Common- 
wealth Government asking me to accept the 
position of Chairman of a Royal Commission 
brought into being (to quote the letters patent) 
" to inquire into and report upon the present con- 
ditions, including the methods of Government, of 
the territory now known as British New Guinea, 
and the best means for their improvement." 

My colleagues, under either of whom I take this 
opportunity of stating I would have considered it 
an honour to serve, were William Edward Parry- 
Okeden, Esq., I.S.O., a gentleman who had held 
high official positions, including that of Chief 
Commissioner of Police in Queensland, and who, 
in addition to a matured departmental knowledge, 
had long and intimate experience both of our 
native races and the Kanaka problem, and Charles 
Edward Herbert, Esq., at one time Member for, 
and now Judge and Resident of, our vast Northern 



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VI PREFACE 

Territory, and consequently of necessity, as well as 
by virtue of his exceptional powers of observation, 
closely conversant with tropical and aboriginal 
conditions. 

Thus the Commissioners were drawn from parts 
of Australia, hundreds (in the case of Judge 
Herbert thousands) of miles apart, and, as a 
not unnatural consequence, were aU personally 
unknown to each other, when on 27th August, 
1906, his Excellency Lord Northcote, Governor- 
Greneral of the Commonwealth of Australia, signed 
the letters patent giving them official status as 
the Papuan Royal Commission. 

The causes which led up to this step on the 
part of the then Government were many and 
complex, and appear to me to have had their 
roots in a period somewhat remote from the 
present. Prior to 1883 more or less irresponsible 
exploring and gold prospecting expeditions fired 
alike the imaginations and the cupidity of adven- 
turous spirits with their accounts of its mineral 
richness and tropical beauty ; but in that year Sir 
Thomas Mcllwraith, Premier of Queensland, lifted 
Papua into the domain of political and national 
problems by annexing it to Queensland, giving, 
among other reasons for his statesmanlike action, 
this unanswerable one, " That the establishment 
of a foreign Power in the neighbourhood of 
Australia would be injurious to British, and more 
particularly to Australian, interests." 



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PREFACE vn 

Unfortunately, the Imperial authorities pro- 
fessed to think otherwise — possibly, they did not 
take the trouble to think at all — or it may be that 
Australian interests were as yet of too Uttle im- 
portance to weigh against possible friction nearer 
home. Be that as it may, the net result to 
Australia is the presence of a great foreign and 
naval Power (which to-day seems to have the 
whole British Empire in a condition of watchful- 
ness) within a week's steam of her sea-board. 

In 1884 a British Protectorate was proclaimed 
over part of New Guinea ; and on September 4th, 
1888, the Administrator, Dr. McGregor, officially 
declared this portion to be a British possession. 

The name of Sir Wilham McGregor will ever be 
remembered in connection with New Guinea as 
that of a ruler who combined, both as regards 
natives and whites, firmness with justice; and under 
him an official system began which did far better 
work than might reasonably have been expected, 
when some of the material he had to work 
on is considered. It is hard to make bricks 
without straw ; yet, officially and financially, that 
is practically what successive Administrators 
have been asked to do, from the days of 
the Protectorate down to the advent of the Royal 
Commission. 

Why McGregor stood alone lay in the fact that 
he rose in the main superior to adverse conditions, 
and proved that it was possible to do fine work 



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vm PREFACE 

with a staff in the main more or less hopeless, 
although certainly leavened by one or two highly 
capable and self-sacrificing officers. 

With his departure, antagonistic elements in the 
public service, held in check by his commanding 
personality, gradually began to re-awaken until 
the officials of the Territory practically lived in 
two hostUe camps. 

Meanwhile the problem of white settlement 
slowly but surely began to assert its claims to 
more consideration than it had received in the 
past. Rightly or wrongly, many of the white 
population held that under the Crown Colony 
regime, and also under that of the Commonwealth, 
Papua had been, and was being, governed solely 
as a close preserve for the native race, and that 
little or no attention was given by officials to 
agricultural or mineral development — indeed that 
white settlement was discouraged rather than 
welcomed. 

Rumours of ofl&cial friction, of interminable 
delays in land matters, and of civil discontent with 
existing conditions roused the attention of certain 
members of the Federal Parliament; questions 
were asked on the floor of the House, and 
eventually on July 4th, 1906, Captain F. R. 
Barton, the Administrator, wrote to the Prime 
Minister asking for the appointment of a Royal 
Commission. This course was adopted by the 
Government on the 27th of August, 1906, but 



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PREFACE IX 

whether in response to his request or for other 
reasons I naturally have no knowledge. 

Accompanied by the Commission's secretary — '■ 
Mr. Herbert Harris — .1 sailed from Sydney on the 
s.s. Guthrie on the 1st of September, 1906, being 
joined by Mr. Parry-Okeden at Brisbane and 
Judge Herbert at Cairns. At Cairns we tran- 
shipped to the Malaita, arriving at Port Moresby, 
the ofl&cial capital of Papua, on Thmrsday the 13th 
of September, 1906. 

From then on till we reached Brisbane on 
December 6th, 1906, we sailed round the whole 
coastline, and visited all the important groups 
of the territory, including a march from Buna 
Bay across the island and over the Owen Stanley 
Hange to Port Moresby. 

Evidence was taken on the Merrie England, in 
mission houses, stores, government stations, on 
the diggings, and in the open on the crest of a 
mountain 5,000 feet above the sea — one of our 
camps on the overland trip. 

This, of necessity, meant that I had to scribble 
down the following impressions after the day's 
work was done, in all sorts of places, and at aU 
sorts of times, which must be my excuse for their 
sketchy character and want of continuity of 
purpose. 

I have naturally not touched on the real work 
of the Commission — that wiU be found in the 
Official Report — and wherever I have brought 



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X PREFACE 

officials into the story of our wanderings it has 
been to speak of them as I found them, by the 
camp-fire, and on the march, and quite irrespective 
of the standpoint of a Commissioner. 



Kenneth Mackay. 



Legislative Council, 
Sydney, 

July 26th, 1909. 



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CONTENTS. 
CHAPTER I. 

SYDNEY TO PORT MORESBY. PAGE 

The Popular View of Papua — I Board the Good Ship Guthrie — The 
Life a Sailor Yearns for — Far Hills are Ever Green — I Meet a 
Colleague — Inside the Barrier Reef — Whitsunday Pass — ^Townsville — 
Why Bustle ? — Our Trinity is Completed — A Man of Many Parts — Cairns 
— ^North Queensland Hill Station — The Barron Falls — ^Our New Com- 
ptmy — Cooktown — ^No Man's Enemy but His Own — Papuan Patriotism 
— Papua Rises from the Sea - - - 1 



CHAPTER II. 

POET MORESBY — ^PAST AND PRESENT. 

Port Moresby — Papua's First Explorers — Sir Thomas Mcllwraith's 
Annexation — ^Murderers as Porters — " George " — A Unique Gaol — 
Two Native Villages — ^The Sago Lakatois — ^Where One Who Deserved 
a Better Fate Died — Among the Villages — The First Convert — In 
Front of the Camera — The Legion of "The Great and Gracious 
Tree" — Our Fiery Steeds^Matrimonial Disabilities — A Native 
Dandy — A Painting from Nature's Gallery — A Papuan Sunset - 13 



CHAPTER III. 

PORT MORESBY TO KBRBPtTNA — ^RTTBBER PLANTING AND 
CHRISTIANITY. 

The Merrie England — Kapa Kapa — Rigo — The Finest House in 
Papua — Novel Methods of Defence — A Charming Alternative — ^The 
Village of Hula — Kerepuna — -Old Faiths Die Hard — Striving after the 
Unattainable — Good Work — On » Mission Verandah — Farewell to 
Kerepilna - - - 29 



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xn CONTENTS 

CHAPTER IV. 

SAMABAI AlTD WOODLAEK A BEAUTY SPOT AND A MINE. PAGE 

We go Aground — A Cocoa-nut Plantation — Fife Bay — The Fairest 
Scene I ever knew — Samarai — From the Residency — Men who Come 
to Samarai — The Lost Legion — A Walk through Samarai — Kwato — 
An Evening in » Missionary's Home— We Visit Milne Bay — ^Dobu — 
Woodlark - - ■ - 43 

CHAPTER V. 

AN ISLAND SEA. 

Among the Islands — A Belie of the Past — Kiriwiria — Heal Chiefs — 
On Spirits Generally — The Local Story of the Creation — The Mission — 
The Destroying Spirit Hovering over Papua — A Native Dance — A 
Picturesque Anchorage — ^Pigeon Island — A Worried V.C. — ^The Patron 
Snake — Moresby Passage — ^Bwaidoga — The Methodist Resolve — Bartle 
Bay — Some Native Beliefs — Native Irrigation Schemes — Dogura — 
Noble Women — Evensong — -One who has Borne the Heat and Burden 
of the Day - 67 

CHAPTER VI. 

CAPE NELSON TO TAMATA — A BKAVE MAN AND A WONDBEFUL 

MARCH. 

Cape Nelson — "Victory" — The One Climb Left — The Fiords — A 
Practical A.B.M. — The Amphibians — Blood Money — Justice, Swift 
and Stern — ^The Power of a Fearless Heart — Buna Bay — Ora Bay — 
Mambare Beach — Tamata — Childish Sport — The Story of Corporal 
Sedu — The Rout — Two Lessons — Bushimi and Oya — Bushimi's March 
from Sea to Sea - - - - gO 

CHAPTER VII. 

FEOM SEA TO SEA — BUNA BAY TO THE DIVIDE. 

Gtetting Ready — We Divide Forces — ^We Begin our March from Sea to 
Sea — ^We Enter the Forest — The Fever Belts — On the Bank of the 
Giriuri — Some of our Fellow Travellers — Primal Papua — Kandarita — 
A Village Crone— Children of Nature and the Sun — The First Fruit of 
the Land— HaU Devil, Half Child— We Reach the Yodda Road Again 
— Statues in Bronze — Some Types — Grass Patches — An Hereditary 
Office — ^Native Gardens — Log Bridges — A Papuan Moses — A Dainty 

Maid — ^A Native Climber — Running Amok — ^We Reach the Kumusi 

A Grim Tragedy — An Epicure's Opinion — From the Rest House — 
A.N.C. Dandies— A Native Market — ^We Cross the Kumusi — Suspen- 
sion Bridges — ^Natural Engineers — ^A Sorcerer — A Faith that should 

Move Mountains— Fairly Strong in the 'Seventies — The Divide 

" Purple Patches " . oq 



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CONTENTS xm 

CHAPTER VIII. 

THE YODDA FIELDS AND KOKODA, PAOB 

The Mambare — Kokoda — The Yodda — A Close Call — The Grim 
Tragedy of it All — God's Acre — Men we Met — The Field — A Clean 
Up — Future Possibilities — Belies of an Older Race — ^We Leave the 
Yodda— We Part with Little — Kokoda once more — The Station 
Buildings — Early Morning Parade — Three Attributes of a Good Soldier 
— Stories Of the A.N.C.^A Man who should be Laid by the Heels 
— ^A Dance under the Stars — A Garden of Plenty — A Land of Untold 
Possibilities — ^A Splendid Lot — The Route is Chosen — The Sorrows of 
a Photographer - ... . 109 

CHAPTER IX. 

ACBOSS THE MAIN RANGE. 

The Costume of Experience — Farewell Kokoda — We leave the Last 
Outpost Behind — ^We Climb the Mountain's Face — ^A Last Look at 
Kokoda — Leeches and Scrub-Itch — ^At the 4,272 feet Level — Getting 
Down — The Ascent of _the Main Range — The Land of Palms and 
Moss — The Land of Glittering Silence — We Fall 1,000 feet— Where 
Perchance the Fairies Dance — The Carriers' Task — The Frozen Carriers 
— ^We Ascend Once More — 8,690 feet above the Sea — A Vision 
Splendid— Another Mountain Camp — The Gap — Orchids — A Sword 
of Water — Two Carriers go Sick — Serigina — Only One More Hill — 
Pitching Camp under Difficulties — Bruce answers our Shots — A few 
Earnest, Simple Words — Kagi — The Commandant — The Future Road 
— He Never Expected to see Us — Tea and Whisky — ^Albert Edward — 
The King of the Range — Beregi — Calm, Cold, and Silent — In the 
Mist Sea — ^We Lose our old Escort and Carriers — ^Farewell to 
Monckton ..... . 123 



CHAPTER X. 

THE LAST STAGE OF OUK MABCH. 

We Begin the Last Phase — A Strange Sepulchre — Our Mid-day Halt — 
A Thoughtful Leader — Our Camp — Race Suicide — Moral and Dignified 
— ^Wearing the Breeches — ^A Fascinating Study — A Haunting Song — 
A Papuan Valhalla — Burial Customs — Sugar Cane — Our First Level 
Track— Our First Mail — Two go Sick — "I've got it Beat" — The 
Opie — lorobaiva — Anthony — Bruce Wants to Go On — Women Carriers 
— A Tropical Storm — What Malaria can do — Pride of Race — The 
Last Hill but One — ^A Hornet's Nest — The Overland Mail — Iruta 
Puna — Strange Customs — George's Blandishments fail — Making Fire — 
Gteorge makes a Damper — Pipes and how they are Smoked — A Land of 
Plenty — The Last Mountain Village — Good Old Harris — Sogeri 139 



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XIV CONTENTS 

CHAPTER XI. 

EBFLBOTIONS AND COFFEE. PAQB 

We Shake Hands on it — In Search of Gold — ^We Bum our Boats — Our 
Condition — ^What the March Proved — Feather Weights — Paying Fealty 
— A Future Policy — A Time that is Past — Dreams — The Transitibn 
Stage — A Possibility — Shirted Chiefs — ^Horses at Last — Mr. Ballantine's 
Plantation — Local CoHee — Mr. Greene — A Seeker after Health — A 
Seeker after Knowledge — Go and Do Likewise — The Plantation — ^What 
a Hundred Acres of CofiEee Costs — The Soil — ^What Sogeri Produces — 
We Leave Sogeri — ^A Vision Splendid — The Rouna Falls — The Copper 
Mine — Experts from Cooktown — ^Warirata — We Reach the other Sea 
— -Re-united - - 152 

CHAPTER XII. 

POSSIBILITIBS OF THE WEST. 

Port Moresby Again — A Prehistoric Man — ^Natural Barriers — Our Work 
is Done — We Say Farewell — ^Redscar Bay — Yule Island — The Sacred 
Heart — Women Papua owes much to — Improved Health Conditions — 
A Sheep Experiment — A Genial Christian — A Medical A.R.M. — Mount 
Yule — ^A River's Mouth — Ermelo — Out of the Dry Belt — Keen 
Traders — Village Fathers as Teachers — Bramble Cay at Night — Rats 
for Lunch — Rohu's Experience— First Australian Land — Darnley 
Island — Daru — Titanic Stone Axes — Curios — A Practical Worker — 
Pythons v. Fowls — At the Gaol — Irrigation — Agriculturists — A Great 
Lone Land — Class of Country and Soil — Tobacco — -Timber and Labour 
— Portable Saw-mills — The Other Side of the Picture-— Agricultural 
Products — Land and Natives — Climate — A Dream of the Future — 
The Present — Farewell Papua 165 



CHAPTER XIII. 

A LAST WORD. 182 

APPENDIX. 

LAND IN PAPTTA. 137 



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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

lACINO 
FAGIZ: 

Frontispiece — ^The Royal Commission at Samarai. 

Lakatoi, Port Moresby 21 

Natives at Pari - 23 

Maulai, First Christian Convert in New Guinea, with 

his Wife and Son, and Malagu, Village Constable 26 

Natives on Dubu at Pari ------ 28 

India-rubber Trees, Kapa Kapa . - . . 33 

Sisal Hemp, Kapa Kapa ------ 35 

Native Teachers' Quarters, L.M.S., Vatorata - - 36 

Sorcerer's House, Kerepuna ----- 38 

Making Copra, Cloudy Bay ----- 45 

Settler's House, Cloudy Bay 46 

Samarai from the Residency 48 

Cricket Match at Kwato - - - 52 

Natives of Dobu - - - 61 

Painted House, Dobu . . - - - 62 

The Mines at Woodlark 65 

Miners at Woodlark Island - - 66 

Samoan Mission Teachers, Kiriwiria - - - 71 

A Native Dance at Kiriwiria - - - 74 

The Merrie England, Cape Nelson - - - 80 

Armed Native Constabulary, Samarai - - - 85 

Warriors at Kandarita - 92 

Crossing the Giriuri - - 98 



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XVI LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

FAonsra 

PAGE 

Crossing the Kumusi 103 

Candidate for Position of Village Constable - - 106 

The same in Uniform ...... 106 

Kokoda Squad, Armed Native Constabulary - - 111 

Government Station at Kokoda - - - - 115 

The Main Owen Stanley Range - - - - 117 

Resting - - - ... . 124 

At Owen Stanley Range, 8,301 feet - - - - 126 

At Owen Stanley Range, 8,690 feet - - - - 131 

A Strange Sepulchre - - - - - - 139 

A Native Grave - 142 

Carriers, Kagi District ...... 145 

The Official Overland Mail .... 149 

Resting near Iruta Puna ... . . 150 

Godoi, Chief of the Baruri Tribe - - - - 156 

Government Station, Daru 165 

Paying-ofi " Boys," Daru - - - 172 

The First Legislative Council - - - 182 

Map of Papua, shomng Author^s Route, folded in at end of hook 



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CHAPTER I. 

SYDNEY TO PORT MOBESBY. 

The Popular View of Papua — I Board the Good Ship Guthrie — The 
Life a Sailor Yearns for — Far HiUs are Ever Green — I Meet a 
Colleague — ^Inside the Barrier — ^Whitsunday Pass — ^Townsville — Why 
Bustle ? — Our Trinity is Completed — A Man of Many Parts — Cairns — 
North Queensland Hill Station — The Barron Falls — Our New Com- 
pamy — Cooktown — No Man's Enemy but His Own — Papuan Patriotism 
— ^Papua Rises from the Sea. 

Had I taken seriously all that was told to me, 
both with regard to the climate and diseases of 
Papua, and the peculiar, not to say truculent, 
tendencies of certain of its inhabitants, I would 
have felt like begging the Prime Minister to change 
the objective of the Commission to Guatemala or 
some such peaceful and truthful health resort. 
Nor did most I had read help to discount the 
prophecies of my friends. For instance, the 
following quotation from a work by D'Albertis 
came as a cold douche to a man who had never 
walked while a horse was available, and who knew 
that he had one eighty-mile tramp ahead of him, 
with a big probability of several others : — " It is 
easier to ascend the highest peaks of the European 
Alps with an alpenstock, than to cross an ordinary 
hill in New Guinea." 

I may say that later, when crawling over the 
Owen Stanley Range, I fully realised why the 



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2 ACKOSS PAPUA 

brilliant Italian naturalist and explorer had let his 
vivid southern imagination get the better of him. 
Having occasion to call on a Sydney doctor, 
loved by reason of his kindly heart and ever ready 
help, he put me in a chair wherein a lotus-eater 
might dream, gave me a cigar whose every ring 
framed a vision of peace and safe content, and then 
let himself go on the subject of Papuan malaria. 
Sitting surrounded by all that makes a man count 
hfe worth retaining, he told me that he had sailed 
many seas, but that from all he had heard of it, 
and a few specimens it had been his good fortiine 
to see, the malarial microbe of New Guinea was an 
easy first as a man kiUer, and brushing aside my 
hope (based on previous experiences in fever 
countries) that I was immune, proceeded to tell 
me of a man who had come to him from Samarai 
a yellow wreck, and had died within the past week. 
But he gave me a specific at parting, of which 
we drank large quantities, and as none of us con- 
tracted anything more deadly than skinned heels, 
we christened it after him. On the eve of departure, 
I was visited by a veritable son of the sea — one 
who had sailed up rivers and over reefs on every 
face of Papua, who had explored, traded, and 
written a book ; and as a result of his experiences 
he told me that the best way to make the natives 
God-fearing and useful members of society was to 
teach them the shorter catechism, and further that 
while it was humanly possible to find the truth as 



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THE GOOD SHIP " GUTHRIE " 3 

far north as Cooktown, from there on the telling 
of it was a lost art. 

So, one stormy afternoon, with scarce an illusion 
left, I boarded the Guthrie, found Harris, our 
secretary, and resigned myself to do without food 
for a few days. Before we reached the lightship, 
however, the squaUs had died away, and the 
harbour, with its plenitude of gardens, looked 
superb as we went out. On every height windows 
helioed flashes of farewell, and once more as we 
passed between the rock-faced gates and steamed 
into the open sea, it came to me that the man who 
ever left so good an anchorage to sail in troubled 
waters was a restless fool with a distorted con- 
ception of when he was well off. 

Outside, each stroke of our propeller drove us 
into calmer waters, and when morning broke we 
were floating on a summer sea ; and all day long 
a picturesque coast line, backed by bold ranges, 
gave change and colour to the picture. 

Why is it that sailors always want to be farmers? 
Probably because they draw their inspiration from 
the village scenes so optimistically portrayed on 
the stage. But be that as it may, the fact remains 
that aU the ofl&cers of the Guthrie yearned for 
the " simple life," and the CaptatQ would gladly 
leave his graphic descriptions of the wonderful 
temple ruins of Java to hang on the lips of any 
man who chanced to open out on sub-soiling or a 
new breed of hens. Good fellows one and all — 

b2 



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4 ACROSS PAPUA 

may the gods be never so unkind as to grant them 

their desire, for a dream-farm is a beautiful and 

restful vision, but a real one is a "demnition 

grind." 

A day on board showed me that the East had 
been "a-caUing," and that she had not called 
in vain, for all were Orient bound. A young 
Victorian mining engineer, to join his brother in 
far Burmese hills — and he was such a clean-souled, 
straight-hmbed boy, that I grudged him to so 
fickle a mistress. A pearl fisher, two surveyors for 
the Straits Settlements, a planter for Sumatra, 
another for Java, and just one gentle little girl off 
a Victorian farm, going out all by herself to make 
a planter happy somewhere beyond Singapore. 
They were all bound for the shining East, and I 
doubt if one of them quite realised how good a 
land he was leaving behind ; but some day, God 
send, they will remember and come back to us, 
and we wiU welcome them, for only stout hearts 
go out through aU the earth and over every sea in 
answer to the world-old call. And those of them 
who return have strengthened their thews and 
broadened their souls, and so are better able to 
bear the burdens of nationhood. 

We were lying at Pinkenba Wharf, Brisbane, 
and I was sitting on a deck-chair watching some 
punts go by, when Okeden, one of the men I would 
hve with, think with, and possibly disagree with, 
for some months, came on board. A typical bush- 



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INSIDE THE BARRIER REEF 5 

man, tall, thin, wiry, with the long thigh, and the 
clean cut fighting face of a cavalry Colonel, and 
with a world of kindness in his eyes, and a saving 
sense of humour hovering about his mouth. He 
just walked into my life as one who treads familiar 
ways, and I knew him as one who knows a friend 
of old days, no matter what dust of years may lie 
between. 

A day out from Brisbane found us inside the 
Barrier Reef, sailing over a sea of silver, and when 
off Mackay we saw the sun go down behind Percy 
Island, the home of an old Colonel who, his life 
work done, there waits the last reveUle. Nor do I 
wonder at his choice, for the scene was surpassingly 
lovely. A sea of glass, and out beyond an island 
mystic, beautiful, crowned with pines and rugged 
with towers of rock, and scarred with deep cut 
ravines — above gold-circled clouds, and glowing 
through their dusky mantles the great red sun, 
polished and round as some old Titan's shield. 
For a little it hung twixt cloud-line and hiU-crest, 
and then plunged from sight amid a blaze of 
radiant colour, leaving behind bright fragments of 
its glory in a splendid afterglow. 

That night, before turning in, I asked the officer 
of the watch to call me when we were entering 
Whitsunday Pass. When he did I regretted my 
after-dinner enthusiasm to commune with nature 
at 4 a.m. in pyjamas. I further regarded the 
officer as unnecessarily officious, but never give a 



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6 ACROSS PAPUA 

sailor a chance to rout you out in the middle of 
the night. I fancy he cannot resist relieving 
the monotony of his vigil by hearing you swear. 
But when I got the sleep out of my eyes I realised 
that they were opening on a vision sjdendid. 

Sentinel islands kept watch and ward on either 
side, as we moved on over a waterway still as the 
night itself. Then, sun rose, and moon set, and 
one shore was a realm of golden light, and one 
was shadow-land just tipped by the sinking moon's 
silver beams. 

After breakfast we passed a white-sailed 
schooner showing up against the background of 
another fairy island, and when she was hull down 
we were still steaming over a summer sea. 

At Townsville we got ashore for a leg-stretch. 
I understand that the present leader of the 
Queensland opposition is largely responsible for 
the port, which, according to his opponents, 
should be somewhere else ; anyway, a majority of 
the people swear by Philp. The god of the winds 
is apparently anti-Philp, as he has made several 
energetic attempts to blow Townsville into the 
sea. 

We lunched at a very fine hotel facing the 
beach, of which Mrs. McLurcan was once high 
priestess. I am told that gourmets still regard it 
as a holy place. Philp has made many laws ; Mrs. 
McLurcan has written a cookery book ; one rests 
his claim to remembrance on a people's poUtical 



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WHY BUSTLE? 7 

gratitude, the other on a nation's stomach. Mrs. 
McLiirgan thou hast chosen the surest path to 
immortality ! 

Still sailing over calm and beautiful seas we 
dropped anchor off Cairns, the while I more than 
ever reaUsed what a fair heritage we Australians 
possess. The further north we go the more are 
we impressed with the fact that if the sea-board 
inhabitants do not possess " the calm of Vere de 
Vere," in its Tennysonian meaning, they have at 
least come to the unalterable decision that 
Gordon was right when he sang that " aU hurry is 
worse than useless." 

After leaving us to roll about for hours in an 
open roadstead, a tender put in an appearance, 
and shortly a cry arose of " sky pilot." So did 
our other colleague impress some of our fellow- 
passengers, for it was Herbert who stood by the 
man at the wheel ! Something in the cut of his 
coat coUar must have deceived, for there was httle 
to suggest the twentieth-century cleric in the thin, 
silent man who stepped aboard and made our 
party officially complete, just as each day onward 
he entered into and became more and more an 
indispensable element in our trinity of friendship. 

After an exchange of honest God-speeds with all 
on board the Outhrie, we put off in a tender 
for a German liner closer in shore, and once along- 
side of her I obtained painful personal evidence 
that if the principle of " one man one job " may 



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8 ACEOSS PAPUA 

be carried to a logical absurdity, the reverse 
as here represented by one captain, mate, bo' sun, 
deck-hand, and boy rolled into an energetic, 
excitable, perspiring, cursing whole has certain 
weaknesses in detail. 

As we ran alongside, our captain, dropping his 
r61e of steersman, dashed from the bridge, and in 
his capacity of deck-hand, threw over a fender, 
then, as boy, caught a rope, while as bo'sun he 
exchanged curses with a nautical person on the 
other vessel. Meanwhile our boat drifted under a 
for'ard scupper pipe, and as a passenger may 
neither touch the wheel, nor shout an order down 
into the engine room, I had to watch helplessly 
the humiliating spectacle of my luggage being 
drenched with German bilge water. On the whole, 
I think, individualism can be carried too far. 

Cairns is practically level with the sea, the 
tropical trees in and about it lifting it above the 
ordinary bush township, but that is all. The 
approach from the ocean is rather fine, high hills 
guarding the flanks of the roadstead and backing 
the town itself. Commercially it is very much 
alive, owing to the mineral, timber, and agri- 
cultural riches, of which it is the distributor. 

Having a day to put in, we took the evening 
train for Kuranda, the local hill station. The 
trip up is both interesting and picturesque, being 
nearly all tropical, and. with, for a time, splendid 
panoramic views astern of the rich lowlands, 



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THE BARRON FALLS 9 

strongly reminiscent of parts of India; and out 
beyond, the sea, with (to-day) the old Guthrie 
floating on it. The railway passes a beautiful, but 
small, fall ; skirts the valley down which the 
Barron river flows, and passes the falls them- 
selves just before reaching the station. 

We stayed at a comfortable, if unpretentious, 
weatherboard hotel, built on a rise just in front 
of a lovely stream, with a foreground of ridges 
covered with dense tropical forest, where one sees 
the banyan and rich foliaged milk tree, from 
which, when tapped, streams of fluid gush out. 
Here also grow palms, banana trees, and, near at 
hand, coffee. 'Tis the home of the paw paw, 
grenadflla, loquat, and mango tree, while on 
every hand are rich tropical blossoms. Hibiscus, 
bougainviUea, and great white beU-flowers, breath- 
ing perfume, delicate and sensuous — a garden to 
rest and dream in, a grove in which to offer up 
incense at the shrine of love. 

The Barron Falls are different from those in our 
mountains, in that they flow on the face of sloping 
rocks from summit to base, and so are white with 
foam in all their downward course. The gorge on 
either side is rich in foliage, and during the rainy 
season the effect must be inspiring, when the 
rocks re-echo the roar and thunder of the waters' 
voices as they rush downward to the sea. 

There is a beautiful creeper here with a delicate 
lavender flower, which one sees through the 



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10 ACROSS PAPUA 

dining-room windows. In truth, all things here 
are beautifxil, for the warm blood of the tropics is 
in their veins. 

Om- fellow-lodgers suggested little out of the 
common, and we would have gone our several 
ways unknowing and unknown, save that Herbert 
had his word doubted as to the height of the falls 
by an old Scotchman, with the result that the 
latter, at any rate, will probably regard Herbert 
in particular, and aU Australians in general, as 
ripe and ready liars. 

It is difl&cult to draw a comparison between 
the scenery of Kuranda and that of our Blue 
Mountains ; but, wherever such comparison is 
possible, it appears to me that the mountains 
completely overshadow the Queensland Hill 
Station alike in broad expansiveness and rugged 
grandeur. 

Among our new passengers we found a labour 
recruiter, a missionary and his wife, a widow 
going to visit the various Mission Stations of 
Papua, and the lady journalist we had been 
expecting to meet ever since leaving Sydney, so 
we steamed out from Cairns with aU the dramatis 
personce necessary for an up-to-date South Sea 
Island melodrama of a moral and moving 
character. 

A night out, and we were at Cooktown, a hot, 
not too stirring port, but still full of interest as 
the spot where Cook careened and repaired his 



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NO MAN'S ENEMY BUT HIS OWN 11 

vessel, and fortunate in possessing a monument to 
the memory of Mrs. Watson and the story of her 
heroic death on a lonely atol not far away. 

Here we spent a hot hour or so in buying for- 
gotten but necessary trifles, and watching one of 
our party making masterly but ineffective efforts 
to lose one of that hopeless brigade which are 
popularly but erroneously dubbed "no men's 
enemies but their own." What cheap and lying 
begging of the real question is this. Ask miser- 
able wives, starving children, robbed mothers, and 
victimised friends if this be a fair epitaph for a 
life of weak and selfish indulgence. 

As we left the wharf we saw a crew of fuzzy- 
headed Papuans gazing after us, for they knew 
we were bound to the island that was in their 
hearts, waking and sleeping. Indeed, so strong is 
their love for their mother-land, that when a 
steamer that is bringing them back nears it they 
will crowd her bow and gaze out for hours 
across the water for a first glimpse of its 
bold and cloud-crowned mountains. I would 
that every countryman of mine loved his land as 
well. 

The captain of the Malaita was a raconteur of 
no mean order, and a most genial fellow to boot. 
His officers were all pleasant comrades, and one I 
found to be the son of an old friend of my early 
bush days, while Miss Gullet (the lady journalist) 
had enough vivacity and enthusiasm to make a 



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12 ACROSS PAPUA 

centenarian feel young, or to transform a saint 
into a human being. But still, once we got out- 
side the barrier, I left them all and lived the 
simple life — and practised not only the no- 
breakfast theory but the " no food at aU " theory, 
till blue mountain crests showing skyivard through 
veils of mist told us that Papua was rising out of 
the Coral Sea. 



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CHAPTER 11. 

PORT MORESBY — PAST AND PRESENT 

Port Moresby — Papua's First Explorers — Sir Thomas Mcllwraith's 
Annexation — ^Murderers as Porters — " George " — A Unique Gaol — 
Two Native Villages — The Sago Lakatois— Where One Who Deserved 
a Better Fate Died — Among the Villages — The First Convert — In 
Front of the Camera — The Legend of "The Great and Gracious 
Tree" — Our Fiery Steeds — Matrimonial Disabilities — A Native 
Dandy — A Painting from Nature's Gallery— A Papuan Sunset. 

Riding at anchor, we had a distant view of 
Government House, a most unpretentious bunga- 
low, more suggestive of an early squatter's home 
than the one time official head-quarters of a pro- 
consul, such as Sir William McGregor was; and 
yet, when later I got to know the man through 
those who served under him, just the sort of house 
I would expect him to live in, for one, so austerely 
simple on his expeditions, and so indifferent to, or 
contemptuous of, official state as to face a Brisbane 
garden party in blue sand shoes and a frock coat, 
could have Httle use for more than four waUs and 
a roof. On one flank of Government House, and 
nearer the shore, the Mission showed over a 
huddled-up native village, but except for this 
village, and a few cocoa-nut and banana trees, little 
else suggested tropical surroundings. Port Moresby 
itself, built on the right hand slopes of the hills 
as the harbour is entered, and now beginning 



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14 ACROSS PAPUA 

to grow out towards the gaol, over on to the 
flats that fringe Ela Beach, consists of a small 
collection of official offices and dwellings, two 
stores, and one public house, and is in no sense 
architecturally beautiful. 

Once ashore, we took up our quarters in a house 
set on the side of a hill about a mile from the 
town, and facing the open sea. Sitting on the 
verandah, I watched the waves flowing slowly on 
a strip of sandy shore, while out beyond a line of 
light marked the course of the reefs ; and thanking 
God for deliverance from the Malaita fell to 
thinking on the past of this island, which at 
present so little known, is yet marked out alike by 
geographical position and natural richness to play 
no inconsiderable part in Australia's future destiny. 

Men, other than English, first sailed Papuan 
seas, and to-day various islands and bays bear the 
names of some of these intrepid navigators. 

First came Don Jorge de Menesis, who in 1526 
was driven to the island by foul weather, stayed 
on it for a few weeks, and named it Papua, which, 
according to some, means "curled"; to others, 
" black hair." Then came another Portuguese, 
Alvarez de Saavedra, who christened it " Isla del 
Oro," and I believe that the near future will prove 
the correctness of his supposition. In 1545 a 
Spaniard, Ynigo Ortiz de Retez, sailed along its 
northern coast, and, thinking it resembled the 
Guinea Coast of Africa, dubbed the island Neuva 



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PAPUA'S FIRST VISITORS 15 

Guinea. In 1606 Inis Vaez de Torres sailed on its 
eastern coasts, and in 1616 a Dutchman named 
Schouten discovered " burning mountains." Then 
came Abel Tasman, who explored some of the 
coast in 1643, while during 1699 Dampier sailed 
clear round it. Carteret visited the island in 
1767, and in 1768 M. de Bougainville, in command 
of two French ships, sailed the south and east 
coasts. In 1770 came Cook, confirming the state- 
ment that Papua was separate from New HoUand 
(Australia). Captain Edwards touched its shores 
in 1791, losing the Pandora on the Barrier Reef 
just after. D'Entrecastreau followed in 1792, and 
in 1793 the East India Company, Hke the grand 
old land grabbers they were, annexed Papua, and 
an island in Geelvink Bay was occupied by 
soldiers belonging to their service. The occupa- 
tion was, however, not approved by the English 
Government. During 1795 Bampton, and in 
1804 M. Constance, visited New Guinea, while 
during 1828 Captain Steenboom took possession 
of part in the name of the Dutch Government; 
but after a few years the settlement had to be 
abandoned owing to its unhealthy nature. In 
1845 Captain Blackwood discovered the Fly River, 
naming it after his ship. During 1846-50 Captain 
Owen Stanley made a survey of the coast and 
marked off many of the more important mountains 
of the range which now bears his name. In 1858 
came the Dutch warship, Etna, exploring and 



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16 ACROSS PAPUA 

surveying, followed by other Dutch expeditions 
led by Van der Crab, Teysman, Correngei, Lange- 
weldt, Hemert, and Swann. 

It is worthy of more than passing note that 
almost without exception these practical, and in 
many cases cultured, navigators speak of the 
natural possibilities of Papua with enthusiasm, 
comparing it to some of the richest of the then 
known tropical islands. 

In 1871 the London Missionary Society founded 
a station on Darnley Island in Torres Straits. 
From there they established stations between the 
Baxter and Fly Rivers, at Redscar Bay, and Port 
Moresby, where in 1874 the veteran missionary 
leader. Dr. Lawes, took command. So that the 
whole honour of being the pioneer missioners of 
Papua justly belongs to this society, though I 
believe the Jesuits started a mission on Woodlark 
Island at an earlier date ; but, for some reason 
unknown to me, it has long ago disappeared. 

In 1893 Captain Moresby discovered and gave a 
name to the present capital ; nor do I think I 
need further trace the course of events which 
led down to the taking over of Papua by the 
Commonwealth, for they belong to a period well 
within the recollection of most men, and are easy 
of discovery by every schoolboy. 

Still, as I consider that every Austrahan should 
fully realise Sir Thomas Mcllwraith's statesman- 
like effort on behalf of the safety of our future 



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REASONS FOR ANNEXATION 17 

race, an eflEort unfortunately rendered largely 
futile through the hostility of the British Govern- 
ment of that day, I will quote his reasons given 
for undertaking to annex Papua to Queensland in 
1883. 

"1. That its possession would be of value to 
the Empire, and conduce especially to the peace 
and safety of Australia, the development of Aus- 
tralian trade, and the prevention and punishment 
of crime throughout the Pacific. 

" 2. That the establishment of a foreign Power 
in the neighbourhood of Australia would be 
injurious to British, and more particularly to 
Australian, interests." 

In July of the same year Lord Derby declined 
to confirm the act of annexation, and in December, 
1884, Germany hoisted her flag over the north 
coast of Papua, and in the Admiralty, Hermit, 
Anchorite, New Britain, and New Ireland Groups. 
So to-day and for all time a great military and 
naval power is established within easy striking 
distance of Australia's most vulnerable points, in 
spite of Sir Thomas Mcllwraith's patriotic action, 
and, indeed, I am inclined to think, largely as the 
result of a desire on the part of the Colonial Office 
to snub that far-seeing statesman. 

Then I was waked out of the past with its quaint 
old ships and picturesque sea captains, and my 
musings on what might have been had my Lord 
Derby's digestive organs only been working 



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18 ACROSS PAPUA 

smoothly, by a clank, clank, that could only come 
from hobbled horses, or a chain gang, and looking 
down I saw twenty or more prisoners, most of 
them shambling in leg-irons, carrying our 
belongings, and sundry articles of furniture. A 
majority were not of the best physique, were 
varied as regards shades of colour, and wore 
immense mops of hair. I was told that a fair 
proportion of them were waiting trial for the 
brutal murder of the only vegetable grower in the 
place ; but they seemed perfectly indifferent alike 
to their fate, and the outrage they had committed 
on the people generally, and indeed chatted and 
laughed as if fresh vegetables were neither here 
nor there in their scheme of life. 

Mr. Musgrave, the Government Secretary, who 
came on board as representative for Captain 
Barton, not only found us a house for which we 
paid rent to a Bishop, but also " George," and as 
George was by way of being chef, major-domo, inter- 
preter, medicine man, and Encyclopedia Papuanica, 
I think that it is only fair to deal with him in 
detail. Son of a High Chief of Samoa and an 
Irish woman, at one time a dweller on our Hunter 
River, then in our pilot service, he drifted to New 
Guinea, was a digger, a carrier of goods from Buna 
Bay to the Yodda, and one of Sir William 
MacGregor's most trusted men, ascended with 
him the Fly River to the 600 mile camp, and was 
one of the four to climb with Sir William the 



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A UNIQUE GAOL 19 

summit of Mount Victoria. Save that his skin was 
darker, he would have passed for a twin brother 
of Bill Beach, and while he kept at times our 
livers active, he was, taking him aU in aU, a con- 
tinual feast, and I will ever look back to the weeks 
we spent together Avith genuine pleasure. 

The gaol at Port Moresby, viewed from a 
European standpoint, has no more reality about it 
than the baseless fabric of a dream, for any 
properly educated criminal could break cells when 
he liked, for to leave the yard called for nothing 
more difficult than stepping through a wire fence. 
StiQ Head-Gaoler Macdonald told us his children 
seldom left him, and that when one did the natives 
almost invariably gave him away, the prisoner 
being usually from another district; and indeed 
they would be fools to escape from a man who is 
in the best sense a firm but kindly father to them 
all. A majority of the prisoners were doing time 
for manslaughter, which seems to be a popular 
form of local crime, and those with skin disease — 
apparently a majority — were being treated by 
being steamed in a sulphur box. 

Having occasion to visit one of the local stores 
we found natives lounging under the verandah, 
indeed in the buUding itself, and a fair proportion 
with skin disease. We then rode round the 
harbour shore to visit the two villages that lie 
side by side below the Queensland Mission Society 
Station. These provide a striking illustration 

c2 



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20 ACROSS PAPUA 

alike of Papuan custom and the multiplicity 
of dialects which there obtain, for though it 
is difficult to determine where one village begins 
and the other ends, yet their people speak 
two languages and foUow different occupa- 
tions, one tribe being fishermen and the other 
agriculturists. 

The view over the bay, with ranges rising in 
the distance, the harbour entrance guarded by 
an island, and the thatched-roofed villages and 
cocoa-nut and plaintain groves, backed by treeless 
sharp-cut hills, made up a picture still only semi- 
tropical but possessing a rare charm of its own. 
The village houses were all built on poles rising out 
of the water, with floors about ten feet above the 
ground, their roofs and walls being of thatch, and 
obviously whole families slept in practically the one 
room. They mark a clear stage of development 
as compared to the primitive mia-mias of our 
Australian aborigines, but in no sense compare 
with the well-built and scrupulously clean kraals of 
many of the Rhodesian and other uncontaminated 
African tribes. Each house was hung about with 
charms, and the women and men, whether making 
earthen pots, mending fishing-gear, or playing 
cat's-cradle, seemed listless and inert, and just 
about as superstitious, and probably more dirty 
than before the white man came. It is only fair, 
however, to point out that these villages, being 
beside a seaport, have probably been demoralised 



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SWAGGER OF THE YOUNG WOMEN 21 

by frequent contact with some of the scum of the 
earth. 

We were amused with the swagger of the young 
women, many of whom were pretty, with Kght, 
well-rounded limbs, and a splendid carriage. 
They walked with a wriggle, amazingly like that 
affected by some of our 'Arriets, and were, I 
should say, born coquettes. Like most tropical 
races, they mature and fade with hot-house 
rapidity, all traces of beauty generally disappearing 
after the birth of their second child, and old age 
claiming them before thirty. The single bucks 
seeking wives are great dandies, with frizzed- 
out hair, many ornaments, and flowers set in 
hair, ears, and armlets — just young blades aU 
the world over, but with fewer clothes than most. 
The old men and women were miserable wrecks, 
skinny and ugly, while aU were, I am sadly afraid, 
ignorant of cleanly habits as we understand the 
term. 

When we arrived, all the local natives were 
short of food, partly no doubt owing to the some- 
what barren soil, and want of rain, but principally, 
I fear, to cultivated laziness, and primitive 
methods. All the sea-board villages were also 
preparing lakatois in which to sail away down 
the coast as far as two hundred and fifty miles 
westward, to obtain sago in exchange for dogs' 
teeth, and earthen pots which the women make. 
These trading craft consist of four canoes, each 



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22 ACROSS PAPUA 

about thirty feet long, lashed together and sur- 
rounded by reed bulwarks, platforms being built 
on stem and stern. The lakatois are provided 
with deck houses to keep out rain, and one or 
two fibre sails of singularly picturesque shape, 
and carry from thirty to forty men. 

Before starting on an expedition, which lasts 
from three to four months — as they can only sail 
with the wind, and so go out on one trade, and come 
back on another — the voyagers deck their masts 
with charms and sail and pole about the bay with 
young girls dancing at the prow of each rude 
gaUeon; and so the old gods still laugh at the 
Mission house standing at the village gates. 

We rode up past a great deep-foliaged rubber 
tree to Government House. It faces the Bay 
entrance and the Coral Sea, and here, one 
morning as dawn was breaking, a young man 
marched from under the flag that floats from 
a knoH on its front, out over " the great 
divide," just because he had no friend to 
hearten him, and stood in this supreme hour 
of his travail deserted, and alone. That he 
was too young for the position of responsibihty 
thrust upon him is probable, but that, having 
accepted it, he strained every nerve to carry out 
his work is amply proved by the brief records of 
those days, and I absolutely beheve that the 
events which ended so tragically for him were the 
direct result of over anxiety on his part to do his 



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p5 






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A REGRETTABLE MISTAKE 23 

duty. For a moment he lost his head, as greater 
men have done before and will do again, and then 
the hysteria of well-intentioned men, and the cold 
aloofness of others who by every law of loyalty and 
comradeship should have rallied rovmd him, turned 
an admittedly most regrettable mistake on his part 
into a tragedy totally unwarranted by any blunder 
he may have made. 

When one calls to mind the " purple patches " 
smeared on the face of Papua by some of her most 
experienced officials, dubbed, and I take it 
generally justly so, regrettable but necessary 
incidents, and when one takes the trouble to think 
how often the innocent must have suffered not only 
with, but for, the guilty, the attitude taken up 
which culminated in the sacrifice of this young 
man seems aU the more inexplicable. That he was 
both energetic and courageous the magistrate who 
was with him during an expedition in the Northern 
Division has given me ample proof, that the 
people as a whole respected and believed in him 
the testimony of many has convinced me, while the 
diggers in the north, during my visit, were talking 
of erecting a monument to his memory ; and 
diggers, if rough, know a man when they meet one. 

Later we visited the villages of Korabada, Pari, 
Kira-Kira, and Vapagori. These were all some 
distance from the port, and their people seemed 
better in every way than the natives we had so far 
met, while three out of the four were clean and 



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24 ACROSS PAPUA 

well-kept, largely due, I understand, to the 

resident magistrate, Mr. Bramell, insisting on the 

carrying out of an ordinance dealing with village 

sanitation. 

At Pari we met Maulai, said to be the first 
Papuan convert to Christianity, and now a native 
teacher. He seemed a sensible old fellow, and when 
I asked him (through George, for he was ignorant 
of English, although a Christian of over twenty 
years standing) "where he would have gone after 
death if he had remained a heathen ? " he replied, 
" God alone can tell that," — which seemed good, 
horse sense. He and his wife, both ludicrous in 
European clothes, entertained us in their native 
house which was beautifully clean and fragrant 
with ropes of frangipanni flowers hung on the 
walls. I often wonder why Easterns and native 
tribes possess such perverted taste as to discard 
wiUingly their graceful national costumes for our 
hideous clothes. That we should encourage them 
to do so is an outrage on all hygienic and artistic 
conceptions. 

The younger women were very fine in kilts made 
of fibre, and when Harris produced his camera, at 
once drew up in line, being evidently no strangers 
to the photographic fiend. But this vexed the 
artistic soul of our secretary, who posed them on 
and around the village Dubu or sacred temple. 
This consisted of a platform supported on round 
posts about six feet high, on one of which an 



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A BEAUTIFUL LEGEND 25 

alligator was carved. Above the platform rose 
four poles from which, in the old days, doubtless 
many a head had helplessly grinned. 

As we were told that Pari was a Christian 
village I am not clear as to why the Dubu still 
remained. Anyway Harris was grateful that no 
earnest iconoclast had chopped it up for firewood. 

^e found well-built churches at each village, all 
the work being done by the native teachers and 
the inhabitants, and we were told that one village 
had subscribed over £100 to build their church. 
It seems that every May the missionaries work 
up an enthusiastic rivalry among the different 
villages, with substantial results, which seems to 
prove that all the world over the easiest way 
to make men give freely is to " sule " them 
on to beat the other fellow. 

As we rode back, George told me of one of the 
native conceptions of a future state, which struck 
me as very beautiful. Up on the Astrolabe 
Range there blooms, invisible to mortal eye, a great 
and gracious tree, in and around which dwell 
forever free from care and happy, aU those who 
have lived good lives ere death claimed them. 
There lovers and loved relations will be re-united, 
whUe those already dwellers beneath its shade may 
and do come back to watch over the Hving, so 
that each soul yet on earth has an unseen but 
ever present loving guide and helper. The wicked 
have to pass through sickness, pain and trouble 



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26 ACROSS PAPUA 

before they reach the tree, but eventually they, 
too, are gathered beneath its branches. The 
natives of the Astrolabe District say they know 
this sacred idyll is true because those they loved 
and have lost have come back to them and told 
them so. 

I give the tale as it was told to me ; and when 
one remembers how old the Papuan is, how he has 
lived on through all the ages that have died, and 
the upheavals that have made and unmade worlds 
since the continent of " Lemuria " sank engulfed 
for ever beneath the waters of the Indian Ocean, 
it is not hard to understand that he still possesses 
dim memories of faiths learnt from lost peoples of 
higher development when the world was younger 
and perhaps nearer its Creator than it is to-day. 

At 2.30 that night we had a shock of earth- 
quake, but I slept through it. Probably I was 
awake, but just did not notice it, for I had been 
riding a Papuan horse all the day before, and our 
horses and saddles were unique. The Commission 
mounted was a fearful and wonderful procession. 
Okeden rode the best looking, but it was a 
thoroughly demoralised brute. Herbert bestrode 
a grey and angular mare, while my animal kicked 
me on the heel whenever I applied the spur. 
Okeden suggested that he was trying to scratch 
his ear. Maybe he was, only when he tried to do 
it to both ears at once I had a troublous time. 

In this happy land woman is only man's equal 



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MATRIMONIAL DISABILITIES 27 

in one sense, and in that she is his superior, 
namely, as a worker. About Port Moresby she 
appears to monopolise this privilege, and I doubt 
if she will ever have any difficulty in retaining it. 
But as a man has to pay his prospective father- 
in-law so much on betrothal, and a further sum 
on marriage, or to be more exact, agree to do 
so when he can, with the result that he as a 
rule never seems to get out of debt to the old 
gentleman, he cannot be expected to become an 
enthusiasti'; worker. 

A young chief we met at Pari came to the 
house and was photographed in full native dress. 
He had a coronet of red feathers with yellow tips 
in his hair. Under this a band of dogs' teeth, and 
then a garland of frangipanni blossoms, more 
blossoms in his ears, and two great mother-of- 
pearl half-moon ornaments about his neck, shells 
on his breast, armlets with flowers stuck in them, 
and nothing else on worth mentioning. He was a 
handsome lad, and looked most picturesque. 

The natives, who all seemed to love flowers, 
make a very pretty use of their fibre armlets by 
placing scented blossoms in them on which the 
lady of their choice may rest her head, the while 
she listens to love's "old sweet song." 

While we were on the wharf one day the sago 
fleet sailed by, the platforms full of girls, some 
dancing in a ring with clasped hands, others 
standing higher, and all whirling their fibre 



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28 ACROSS PAPUA 

ramis like skirt dancers, some of their motions 
being more primal than are usual in our balletB. 
The men decked in armlets, neck and chest 
ornaments, and with bird-of-paradise, and other 
head-dresses, swaying to and fro and chanting to 
the roU of their drums. It was a glowing picture 
out of Nature's gaUery, set in the changing colovirs 
of the coral bay, and framed by the soft brown 
hills. 

That afternoon as we rode back to our home by 
the sea, we heard that the Merrie England was 
ready to start for Samarai in the morning, and 
as we sat and smoked, looking out on the sea, the 
day began to die. Great clouds floated half round 
owe world, cold and leaden hued, its other half a 
mighty sheet of flame. Out of the still depths of 
the sea an island rose, clear cut as a cameo, 
stretching along the sky line, with sharp peaks, 
fold upon fold, fading into dim distances. And 
then the clouds became pillars of fire, flushed 
with rose light and radiant with the gold of the 
sun god's very heart, then sea, earth, and sky, 
rock-face, and rugged peak merged into one 
glorious picture of gloom and glory — and then 
the night. 



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CHAPTER III. 

PORT MORESBY TO KEREPTJNA — GRUBBER PLANTING 
AND CHRISTIANITY. 

The Merrie England — Kapa Kapa — Rigo — ^The Finest House in 
Papua — Novel Methods of Defence — A Charming Alternative— The 
Village of Hula — Kerepuna — Old Faiths Die Hard— Striving after the 
Unattainable — Good Work — On a Mission Verandah — Farewell to 
Kerepuna. 

The Merrie England, our home for many weeks, 
was originally a private yacht built to resist the 
buffets of northern seas, and in those days must 
have carried an immense spread of canvas^ for even 
in their cut-down condition her masts were lofty. 
Painted white, with graceful lines, and spick and 
span from brasses to binnacle, she looked a thing 
of joy as we stepped aboard. 

Since she first sailed to the Coral Sea her career 
has been fuU of incident. A governor of Queens- 
land has helped to lighten her off a reef inside the 
barrier, she has scraped coral, and backed off or 
ploughed through sand-banks from the mouth of 
the Fly to Mambare Beach. Many men whose 
names are writ large in the history of Australia, 
and some with old-world records, have trod her 
bridge, and tragedy's grim feet have stained her 
spotless decks, but the morning we sailed out of 
Port Moresby eastward bound, tragedy was absent 



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30 . ACROSS PAPUA 

from our thoughts, for Captain Hunter had pledged 
us his word not to go outside the reef for that day, 
and it was time enough to think bitterly of the 
morrow when it came. 

What a right good fellow and capable navigator 
our captain was, and what obliging, careful officers, 
his chief, and engineers ! May they ever remain 
taut and trim as their gallant little vessel ! Then 
there was " Lamps," a youthful mariner who 
seemed to do a lot of steering when we left a port, 
for it is surprising how subject to head-aches full- 
grown A.B.s are aft^r a day ashore, and good old 
" Chips," and the cook, a weU-intentioned man 
who, alas ! gave us more " food for thought " than 
all that brave ship's company. 

We had as fellow-passengers, Mr. Ballantine, the 
Treasurer, Mr. BrameU, Resident Magistrate for 
the Central Division, and George, in charge of 
Vagi and Thou (our two boys), and commissary 
general, collector of curios, and raconteur roUed 
into one. 

Once round the hill we sailed along shores 
fringed by mangroves, broken here and there by 
httle sandy beaches and nooks of green foliage, 
the whole backed by broken ridges and the taller 
heights of the Astrolabe Range. Here and there 
villages nestled by the shore. At one called Kapa 
Kapa we cast anchor. It was built on poles, and 
stood in the water over 100 yards from the beach, 
and was an interesting illustration of how the 



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MR. ENGLISH'S HOME 31 

coast natives protected themselves from the raids 
of the more warlike bush tribes in the days before 
Grovernment gave all this part of Papua security 
for life and property. So marked is this that now 
a white man might walk from Port Moresby to 
Samarai in perfect safety. 

Piloted by Mr. English, Assistant Resident 
Magistrate for the district of Rigo, we landed and 
walked along a good road constructed with native 
labour by our guide, and lined with cocoa-nut 
palms, kapok trees, and blossom-laden frangi- 
pannis planted by him. This tropical avenue led 
through a plantation of sisal hemp, and then 
another of rubber, while great rich-foliaged native 
trees rose on every side, one beautiful and stately, 
bearing a fruit not unlike the walnut in shape. 
Here, too, paw paws grew, and mandarine oranges 
and coffee. 

Strolling up a path flanked by kapok trees, 
grown from seed imported nine years ago from 
Java, and now between 50 and 60 feet high, and 
yielding a product of first-class quality, we reached 
Mr. English's home. 

The house was full of excellent local photography, 
and on the waUs were displayed a collection 
of clubs and other native weapons, many of 
which money could not replace to-day ; for the 
native, after recklessly parting in the past with 
weapons handed down from more industrious 
ancestors, now — either impelled by a sense of their 



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32 ACROSS PAPUA 

value commercially or because of an awakened 
sentiment — is actually buying club heads and 
stone axes from the traders, and we found it most 
difficult, even in the centre of the island, to get 
genuine weapons or curios of any kind. 

The view from the verandah was an ideal one 
for a planter's bungalow, stretching away over the 
cultivated areas to the local hills beyond, and as 
we gazed on the work of his hands and brain its 
owner told us tales of Chalmers and of McGregor, 
in whose service he had been, and who had first 
suggested to him the starting of the plantation 
that now spread in nearly matured beauty at our 
feet. Whether or no his official position had 
given him help which would not have been at 
the command of a private individual it is not 
my province to discuss ; but of this I feel con- 
fident, that he has proved beyond the stage of 
experiment that rubber, kapok, and sisal hemp 
wiU aU give commercial results in parts of the 
Rigo district. 

Inland from Rigo he told us there was a large 
area of lightly timbered country admirably suited 
for grazing big stock, much of which was not 
actually required by the natives, and I have little 
doubt but that horses would do well in this part 
of Papua. 

On our way back to the boat Mr. English 
showed us a bridge he was constructing with 
prison labour. All the wood was local and of a 



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AN OFFICIAL REPORT 33 

high quaUty, while the workmanship reflected no 
little credit on his own ingenuity and skill as an 
instructor. 

The following extract from the official report 
may prove of interest : — 

i2M66er.— Rubber is indigenous to the country, and when 
imported from other places grows exceedingly well. Your 
Commissioners visited a plantation belonging to Mr. EngMsh, 
at Rigo, where they found about 70 acres planted with 
12,000 trees, the Ficus Rigo, a rubber indigenous to the 
district. About 50 trees of the Ficus Elastica have also been 
planted, and are growing most vigorously, nor is there any 
doubt that the whole of the surrounding district is well 
adapted for its production. Referring to the Ficus Rigo, 
Mr. English says : — " This is a very hardy tree, thrives well 
and is easily grown from cuttings, which can be obtained 
from the surrovrnding scrubs. It is quite easy after a few 
acres of this valuable tree is planted to extend the area of 
them. The lower limbs usually grow aerial roots, and in 
favourable weather we have cut off these, hmbs three or four 
inches in diameter, and planted them out, with the result that 
they soon become of hke dimensions to trees three or four years 
old raised from ordinary cuttings . I would strongly recommend 
the would-be settler to pay some attention to this hardy tree, 
which seems to be able to survive the severest drought that I 
have known for the last 24 years. It grows well in the 
different soils from high water mark, on the edges of salt and 
clay pans, open country and scrub land, and may be found 
growing on almost bare rock, while it gives a reasonable 
return after six years of about 3 lbs. of rubber per tree. The 
rubber from the Ficv^ Rigo, which I first brought under notice, 
and placed on the market in London some 12 years ago, was 
reported on by Messrs. Silver and Co. as being equal to Para 
rubber, which class of rubber has been sold in Sydney this 
year at 4s. 4d. per lb." 

Having seen Mr. English's plantation. Your Commissioners 
entertain no doubt as to the possibility of successful rubber 
growing in this, and indeed many other parts of Papua, 
but, in their opinion, the trees on this plantation were 
planted much too close together. This, however, is a 
fault often committed, but easy of avoidance by future 
planters. 



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34 ACROSS PAPUA 

The following is an estimate, compiled on the figures given 
by a practical planter, of what a rubber plantation of 250 acres 
should cost to plant and maintain in Papua : — 

Estimate of Cost of Rubber Plantation in Papua. 

250 acres. Trees planted 16 feet by 16 feet. 

f s. d. 

1. Felling, clearing, and holing, at £1 

an acre 

2. Lining . . 

3. Nursery expenses 

4. Seed, 16 feet by 16 feet ; 20 per cent. 

failure ; 5s. lOd. per thousand, say 

5. Planting 

6. Roads and drains 

7. House for owner or superintendent 

(of native materials) . . 

8. Huts for boys . . 

9. Tools 

10. Contingencies . . 



Annual Cost. 

Interest, 6 per cent, on £710 
Survey fees 

*Rent of land for first ten years 
Recruiting — 100 boys at, say, £4 per 
boy, equal to £400 every three years 
Labour — 100 boys at £3 per annum . . 
Supervision 

Total cost per annum 

Or excluding supervision. . ,. £475 18 8 

♦Rent, first 10 years, nil; second 10 years, not more than 
6d. per acre ; afterwards, 5 per cent, of unimproved value to 
be appraised every 20 years. 

The estimate of £1 per acre for clearing scrub land appears 
to your Commissioners to be under-stated, but in support 
of it, consideration has to be given to the fact that the 



£710 





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nil 


133 
300 
300 


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£775 


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THE FINEST HOUSE IN PAPUA 35 

natives are adepts in this class of clearing, and that the 
wage they ask is infinitesimal as compared with ruling 
Australian rates. 

Before getting on. board we visited Vatorata, the 
London Missionary Society's College built by the 
late Dr. Lawes, and said to be the finest house in 
Papua. Mr. Turner, a new arrival from Scotland, 
was in charge, and treated us to tea on a spacious 
verandah overlooking a splendid panoramic view, 
reaching to the sea, on which lay the Merrie 
England. The centre of the building consisted of 
a large room or hall open at front and back, which 
appealed to me greatly, but Mr. Turner pointed 
out that during the winds most things, including 
the dwellers therein, required to be chained down. 

He told me of another missionary with a 
German name, who with his wife, was stationed 
thirty or forty miles inland, and who came over in 
the Malaita with us, and from his description I 
was sorry that I had not met him, but the sea was 
responsible, not I. 

We passed down a double row of huts occupied 
by native teachers and students, and then said 
farewell to a man who had received us most 
courteously, and who seemed to me somewhat 
lonely — and perhaps it was fancy, but, I thought, 
a little disillusioned. 

Reaching the shore we were carried to our boat, 
and soon found ourselves in deck chairs looking 
over at the village and chatting on the days when 
the canoes now lying on the beach were moored 

d2 



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36 ACROSS PAPUA 

to its posts each night. The Solomon natives 
have, I understand, gone one better by building 
artificial islands on the reefs, on which they 
have planted cocoa-nut palms, and constructed 
docks for their canoes, while one chief who 
chanced to be perilously near the land erected 
a stockade of upright logs right round his island 
to prevent the bushmen shooting across. These 
gentry, who seemed to hold similar views to those 
of the old Highlanders, were vegetarians, with 
possible lapses when they caught a coast man. 

After dinner BrameU, the Resident Magistrate 
for the Central Division, gave us the names of the 
villages and tribes at this end of his division, and 
the languages spoken by the latter, but I fear that 
an enumeration would only weary the reader, 
interesting though it was to me, and then he bade 
us good night, and going over the side he stepped 
into an outrigger canoe and was paddled off, as 
we thought, to Port Moresby; nor was it until 
many days after that we learned he pulled ashore 
instead, and straightway married Mrs. English's 
sister. Well, it seems he had the choice of 
beginning two journeys that night, and I hope and 
beUeve he will never regret the path he took when 
he rowed away under the stars. 

In the morning we went outside the reef, and 
the Merrie England pitched until the spray 
showered over us on the bridge ; then as we came 
beam-on to get in, rolled till Okeden went over. 



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MISSIONARY AND SORCERER 37 

chair and all ! When we again got into smooth 
water, we saw the village of Hula surrounded by- 
cocoa-nut plantations, and I was told one might 
walk for five miles through nothing else, indeed, 
all the country from there to Kapa Kapa is 
suitable for copra raising. At Hula are some of 
the finest swimmers in the world. Just behind 
the plantations rise bare but rather picturesque 
sugar-loaf-topped hills backed by the Owen 
Stanley mountains. 

We dropped anchor in the narrow mouth of a 
big lagoon fringed with palms, mangroves, and 
other shady trees. At its farther shore rose bare 
hiUs, backed by lordlier ranges ; Lq front the foam 
line of the reef cut us off from the sea ; on our 
left cocoa-nut trees stretched away right to Hula ; 
while on our right, huddled on a narrow tongue of 
sandy soil, lay the village of Kerepuna, its conical 
shaped houses buUt clear of the water, and a 
Mission house standing on the point by the sea. 

On landing, we were met by Mr. Pearse, a stout, 
cheery old missionary, who showed us over the 
village. Several tall spires, slightly suggestive in 
shape of the goporams of Southern India, gave a 
certain individuality to the place. They marked 
the abode of the sorcerer, and, I take it, other 
homes of importance. 

The sorcerer's house stood on rudely carved 
posts — on one of which an alligator was cut. I 
asked our guide how he thought he would fare in 



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38 ACROSS PAPUA 

a trial of strength with his rival, and his answer 
gave me the distinct impression that he considered 
the chances would be against him. Once a year 
this man stUl stands near" the mission house and 
cries as of old, " I am lord of the sea, crocodiles, 
sharks, and turtles belong to me," and the people 
admit it by bringing him his share when any are 
caught. They still build their houses on high 
poles, not for protection from mortals, but because 
they believe spirits cannot climb — and at this 
season they beat drums at night so that the spirits 
may dance, and thus, being kept in good humour, 
give them abundant crops. As we walked, men 
passed us wearing bunches of white feathers in 
their hair as tokens that they had killed a man, 
and behind the mission house we were shown a 
sacred place where they stUl spread their nets 
before fishing for turtle. Indeed, to all intents 
and purposes, they seemed to be stiU in the thrall 
of the old gods. Still I fully belieive that Mr. 
Pearse has put up a good fight during his nineteen 
years' residence at Kerepuna. It has just been his 
misfortune to have to strive after the unattainable, 
though from one Indian philosopher's point of 
view this should rather be counted his good 
fortune. 

The Papuan is "intensely conservative," to 
quote Dr. Lawes, while Sir William McGregor 
considered that "they have not as yet been 
deeply impressed by the truths of the Gospel, 



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SORCEBER S HOUSE, KEREPUNA. 



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A COMPARISON 39 

to religious fervour they are strangers, while 
generally they cannot be said to be devotees to 
the Church, or to be otherwise than indifferent to 
her teaching." 

My observation, certainly limited by time, has 
led me to the conclusion that what these two men 
said of the Papuan years ago is practically true 
to-day. Doubtless there were then, and are now, 
exceptions, but the people as a whole are still as 
their fathers were as regards true soul develop- 
ment. Common sense revolts against the idea 
that it could be otherwise. Undeveloped peoples 
adopt with comparative ease the outward forms of 
new faiths ; the more ornate the ceremonial the 
more are their senses captivated by it, while music 
and song ever appeal to and charm them. But 
after all, these things are only practised by them 
along with, not to the exclusion of, primal super- 
stitions, for an absolute change of religious thought 
must be a process of gradual evolution moving 
upwards, hand in hand with mental race develop- 
ment. For no man can put new wine into old 
bottles, nor new and higher beliefs into souls not 
fitted and strengthened by mental exercise for such 
food. That at least is what my study of the 
question has taught me. Possibly I have not 
learnt my lesson aright, — aU I can say is that if I 
have misread the history of the ages I have not 
done so wUfuUy. 

In another dispatch Sir WiUiam McGregor 



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40 ACROSS PAPUA 

states — " the lapse of time has steadily strength- 
ened the conviction that mission labour is of 
immense value and importance in the possession." 
This is undoubtedly true, Drs. Lawes and 
Chalmers, Bishop Vergus, and Dr, Genocchi, the 
Revs. A. A. Maclaren and Copland-King, and the 
Rev. W. E, Bromilow have all done splendid work 
not only as the pioneers of their particular 
missions, but as citizens of Papua, and many 
others are following in a path far smoother to-day 
than when in 1870 the Rev. Dr. S. Macfarlane 
established a mission on Darnley Island prepara- 
tory to exploiting New Guinea. 

I gladly acknowledge the work they have done 
and are doing in Papua. I do not believe they 
have made any real impression on the natives 
from the standpoint of an intelUgent conception of 
what Christianity reaUy is, and in some instances 
I fear in their laudable desire to win confidence 
and love they have encouraged a familiarity which, 
particularly in the case of savage peoples, tends to 
want of respect and to indolence. On the other 
hand, however, they have stood between the native 
and unscrupulous white men in the past. Their 
influence has ever been in the direction of morality 
and general cleanliness of life, and their homes have 
always been centres of hospitality for men of every 
creed and social status, whUe their wives have 
nursed many a fever-stricken wanderer back 
to health. 



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MISSIONARY AND ALLIGATOR 41 

While Mrs. Pearse, a motherly, pleasant lady, 
was giving us tea, her husband told us of an 
adventure he had at Kerepuna, which called to 
mind Sydney Smith's well-known doggerel: — 

" I would I were a cassowary on the banks of the Timbuctoo, 
For then I'd eat a missionary, his prayers and his hymn 
books too." 

It seems that one day as he was strolling along 
the sand, an alligator came ashore and sprinted 
along the beach after him (and truly he would 
have made excellent eating), but Pearse put on 
such a spurt in getting away from the pearly 
gates, that he winded the alligator, and so is still 
in this veil of tears. 

From where we sat we could see the thin trail 
of a narrow canal leading out to the coral reef 
through which at low tide a single canoe could 
pass to the fishing ground. Who cut this passage, 
or how it was excavated, or whether it was simply 
worn, is not known. 'These people just use it, and 
trouble not at all about its history. 

Their songs seem to teU the story of their past, 
but as they have forgotten what they mean, one 
is no further ahead — at present they can about get 
back to a great grandfather, which, after aU, is a 
genealogical effort which would stagger many 
people claiming a far higher stage of development. 

Just as we got on board again the canoes came 
back from the other shore bearing the workers 
home from the plantations. The Kerepunians are 



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42 ACROSS PAPUA 

a tall people for Papua, and some of the men 
standing spear in hand and with hibiscus in their 
hair looked veritable sons of war. There were also 
a goodly array of ladies au naturel to the waist. 
Taken all in all, the picture was full of local 
colour, and as they paddled for the shore where 
grew the rubber trees and yellow hibiscus it all 
became beautiful — softened and ideaUsed by the 
distance. 

So we left the two old missioners to dream for a 
little whUe by the Coral Sea ere they sailed away 
for ever, and I wonder if, in the days to come, they 
will ever look from the windows of some quiet 
English home out over all the intervening space of 
sea and shore to palm-shaded, hibiscus-drowned 
Kerepuna — and holding each other's hands, just 
softly sigh. 



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CHAPTER IV. 

SAMABAI AND WOODLARK. A BEAUTY SPOT 
AND A MINE. 

We go Aground — A Cocoa-nut Plantation — Fife Bay — The Fairest 
Scene I ever knew — Samarai — From the Residency — Men who come 
to Samarai — The Lost Legion — -A Walk through Samarai — Kwato — 
An Evening in a Missionary's Home — ^We Visit Milne Bay — Dobu — 
Woodlark. 

Out from Kerepuna we ran on to a sand bank 
opposite Cape Rodney, but backed off without 
hurt, and later passed between two reefs not a 
cable-length apart. In fact, navigating this coast 
close-in means feeling every inch of it, with a look- 
out in the " cage " in accord with whose warnings 
the ship is steered. 

During the afternoon we anchored off a planta- 
tion the property of Whitten Brothers, of Samarai, 
and landing, walked under long avenues of palms 
to watch the husking of the nuts. Each native 
stood beside a stake with a sharp-pointed end, on 
which he drove the husk once or twice, thus 
creating a break which made it easy to tear it 
away from the shell. The nuts are then split 
open, drenched with salt water, and laid on tables 
when, after 48 hours' sunning, the copra is easily 
taken out of the broken shells, cut into small 
pieces, and bagged. 

This plantation, like most others in Papua, had 



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44 ACROSS PAPUA 

been started with little method, but its present 
owners are trying to get it into good working 
order. Copra should be one of Papua's staple 
industries. The soil is equal, if not superior, to 
that of Herbertshohe, while the trees are not 
subject to attack from the hurricanes which prevail 
on most of the other islands, and the present price 
(£14 per ton) leaves a reasonable margin for waiting, 
cost of planting, and production. 

In this connection, the following quotation from 
the Papuan Commission's report may prove of 
interest : — 

Copra. — Cocoanut trees grow in many parts of Papua, but, 
judging from their observations and the evidence given, your 
Commissioners have little doubt that the eastern and western 
portions of the southern coast-line contain the pick of the 
copra-producing country. Asked how much copra was ex- 
ported last year, the Treasurer replied, " Eight hundred and 
twenty-eight tons," and in answer to the question, " Do you 
think that industry is going to increase ? " said, " I think so, 
more particularly as the value has gone up quite recently ; it no w 
fetches £14 per ton, while a few years ago it was only £7." 

Mr. William Whitten also stated that he considered there 
was a good future ahead of this industry, and as a practical 
proof of his belief has lately purchased a cocoanut plantation 
between Port Moresby and Samarai. 

Mr. Carpenter, manager for Burns, Philp and Co., in the 
course of his examination, gave the following evidence : — 
" There can be no doubt about cocoanut and rubber planta- 
tions going ahead. I was at Herbertshohe some years ago, 
and saw the land there, and I think the land is better here." 

The most systematic attempt at cocoanut planting has been 
made on an island of the Conflict Group, distant about 70 
miles from Samarai ; on this island — which is named 
Panassesa — 10,000 cocoanuts have been planted in pits about 
3 feet deep, into which leaves and rubbish generally are 
swept. The ring barking and fire grubbing of the indigenous 
timber are done about the time of planting, and as this 



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FIFE BAY 45 

timber falls it is heaped up clear of the lines to decay, and 
thus add manure as time goes on. Some of this begins to 
fall in the first year, and from thence on till it is all down : 
the loss of young cocoanut trees during this process is 
inappreciable. 

When in full bearing it is estimated that an average of 
about 80 nuts per tree per annum will be obtained ; a good 
yield might produce 100 nuts per tree. The 10,000 cocoanut 
trees referred to as producing an average of 80 nuts per tree 
are estimated to yield about 100 tons of copra per annum, in 
between seven and eight years ; that is, assuming they will 
then be in full bearing. Many, however, will begin to bear at 
five years. 

Your Commissioners can see no reason why numbers of 
such plantations should not be started and worked with profit 
and success on many parts of the mainland of Papua, and 
they wish particularly to point out a fact which must have 
an important bearing on the value of plantations as reliable 
assets, namely, that trees in Papua are not subject to the 
devastating hurricanes which prevail on most of the other 
islands. 

After a night of pitching and rolling, during which 
Herbert was swamped in his cabin, we ran in and 
anchored in Fife Bay, a spot of real tropical beauty. 
Groing ashore we met the London Missionary 
Society'sMissionary,Mr.Rich,a young and vigorous 
fellow, evidently firm, and a good organiser, for the 
natives were all clean and bright, and their houses 
natty and well built. We had morning tea with 
Mrs. Rich, and her three winsome little children, 
who were whiter faced than I liked to see, but 
some day hUl stations will go far to alter all that, 
and fortunately for the future of settlement they 
are possible of easy attainment on all this coast 
line. Mrs. Rich teaches the girls how to make 
most beautiful lace, and her husband, among many 



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46 ACROSS PAPUA 

practical acts, has faced the problem of curing the 
loathsome skin disease with the best results. He 
is also fighting the anopheles mosquito (the cause 
of malaria) by clearing the mangroves, and by- 
draining. 

The view from his house was superb. In front, 
three palm-crowned islands guarded the entrance to 
the bay, while steep ranges, clad in deepest verdure, 
stood sentinels behind. In the middle distance 
another island, stretching on the left a semi-circle 
of lower lands, palm-clad and radiant, and on the 
right bolder hills rolling fold on fold down to the 
foam- white beach. So fenced about by the ranges 
we stood and gazed over the islands and out td 
the Coral Sea. 

Some day Fife Bay wiU take the place of 
Samarai as the official capital of this part of Papua, 
for its harbour possibilities are better, it is on the 
mainland, while immediately beyond the hills that 
rise from its shores lie rich lands that will yet 
support a big population both of white settlers 
and natives, if each are properly handled and 
encouraged. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Rich and his wife are paving 
the way by teaching the people habits of cleanli- 
ness, industry, and discipline, and in proving what 
can be done in the way of banishing malaria. 

That afternoon we passed between the mainland 
and a chain of islands. The richness of colour on 
either shore, the lights and shades, the suggestion 



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A GARDEN OF THE GODS 47 

of sensuous content, of nature triumphant over all 
the lures of the artificial, made up the fairest scene 
I have ever known out of a dream. 

As evening fell we dropped anchor ofi Samarai — 
a mystic island, a toy domain, a scene from 
"Florodora," all palms and crotons set in a 
crystal sea. 

Samarai is one of the places that first made me 
hopeful for the future of Papua. A few years ago 
it was a death-trap. When we visited it — as the 
direct result of filling in a swamp, exterminating 
the mangroves, doing away with stagnant water, 
and attention to general sanitation — ^there was not 
an anopheles mosquito in it, and Dr. Jones, one of 
the men who is largely responsible for this 
changed condition of things, assured us that local' 
malaria was practically a thing of the past. 
Eight years ago it was a white man's grave, to-day, 
as tropical islands go, it is a sanatorium. 

We were quartered in the Resident Magistrate's 
house, an airy bungalow with wide verandahs 
built on practically the summit of the island. 
From this central vantage post we looked down 
on all the falling slopes covered with magnificent 
palms intermingled with bread-fruit trees, mangoes, 
just beginning to show their fruit, poncianas, like 
cedars of Lebanon in leaf, now crowned mth 
glorious red flowers, crotons robed in deep tinted 
foliage, and lower still long avenues of cocoa-nuts 
circling the tennis and cricket grounds, while rows 



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48 ACROSS PAPUA 

of stately trees shaded the grass-carpeted flat, once 
a deadly swamp. Everywhere were coral-paved 
paths flanked with hedges of crotons, and winding 
along the shore ran a roadway roofed by spreading 
fronds. Circling it all were the straits, studded 
with tree-crowned isles, and ringed as with a 
jewelled girdle by mainland hills rising fold on 
fold, and high-peaked islands, twixt which came 
sUver gleams of narrow waterways leading to the 
outer sea. I doubt if in aU the world there be a 
more beautiful spot, for it is a cameo cut by 
immortal hands out of sea, and shore, and sky, 
and ever to me it wUl remain a very garden of 
the gods. 

Commercially Samarai is to-day the most im- 
portant town in Papua, set as she is fair in one 
of the waterways that lead from Australia to the 
East, and being by reason of her situation at the 
extremity of the mainland, a convenient centre 
of distribution for both coasts, and the islands of 
the South-eastern DiArision. She is, however, 
handicapped both from a commercial, and ad- 
ministrative point of view in possessing no harbour 
(the roadstead which does duty for one is of 
limited extent), and in having no frontage of good 
soil on the mainland; but her most serious dis- 
ability lies in the fact that, being on an island of 
only fifty-nine acres there is no possibility of 
serious expansion. Still even if this were not so, 
the fact of being cut off from the mainland would 



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LOVELY ISLANDS 49 

be fatal from the standpoint of settlement. If 
white men are to be induced to develop this part 
of Papua they must not be handicapped by being 
forced to carry their produce over ranges, and 
across the water to their seaport, or asked to 
undertake such a journey each time they want to 
visit a government department. By reason 
however of her position on the trade route, her 
possibilities as a sanatorium, her beauty, and her 
accessibility as a resort for tourists, and yachtsmen 
wishing to explore the lovely islands that he in the 
surrounding seas, she must always hold her own, 
but it wiU not be as capital of the south-eastern 
littoral. 

From an Australian point of view this com- 
mercial capital of the largest island in the World 
is a small township ; but, judged from that 
standard, it more than holds its own, for it 
possesses three public-houses and one bishop. It 
also supports a soda-water factory, which must be 
accounted unto it for righteousness, and as a 
crushing answer to the inhabitant, who assured me 
that " this was too hard a country for soft drinks." 
Three stores, a church, a school, the Kectory, 
Government buildings, a few private residences, 
and a hospital about account for the other 
buildings, all of which are constructed of wood, 
and, if my memory serves me correctly, roofed 
with iron. 

Here come diggers from the far Yodda and 



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50 ACROSS PAPUA 

Gira fields, to pay off and sign-on " boys," some 
recruiting personally among the adjoining islands, 
others obtaining fresh hands from the professional 
recruiters, whose tiny schooners and luggers he off 
in the roadstead, others again being supplied by 
Messrs. Whitten Brothers, their steamer bringing 
natives from the distant Fly River to work in the 
Northern Division. Good masters have little 
difficulty in getting labour, the same " boys " often 
signing-on for a fresh term. Bad ones the natives 
will have nothing to do with — if they know, and, 
while I believe that to-day most of the recruiters 
play fair, I am just as strongly of opinion that aU 
do not, and so feel absolutely certain that the 
Government should take over all recruiting in 
the best interests of good employers, but more 
particularly to safeguard the natives, who, through 
ignorance of English, are placed at a terrible 
disadvantage if they fall into the hands of un- 
scrupulous men. I realise, of course, that in the 
case of planters employing purely local labour this 
danger need not be feared, and consequently need 
not be so drastically guarded against. 

Apart from recruiting, all miners from the 
north and Woodlark make this their port of 
departure for Australia. Some never get further 
south, beginning and ending their spree, and 
leaving their hard-won gold in one or all of the 
hotels, going back to risk and toil, so that six or 
twelve months later they may do the same thing 



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THE LOST LEGION 51 

over again. Poor fellows ! they haven't even the 
satisfaction of the old western shepherd, who, 
after vainly striving for seventeen years to get 
beyond the first " pub," was at last carried past 
it dead, for their bodies even don't get past 
Samarai — they generally rot on the Mambare, or 
on some unknown track. Others reach Cooktown, 
a few Brisbane, a remnant spend what is left in 
Sydney, while here and there one of stiU sterner 
stuff may even see the Melbourne Cup. I speak, 
of course, only of that lost legion yearly, thank 
God, growing weaker for want of recruits. A big 
majority of the miners to-day are, I hope and 
beUeve, neither so weak nor so foolish as to work for 
months just for a few weeks of mad carousal, 
with sure delirium as the sum and substance of 
it all. 

Here, too, come pearl buyers, traders of the 
baser sort, and certain Greeks fallen from their 
one-time high national estate, who barter for 
pearls and curios among the islands, and whose 
deportation from Papua would not make one good 
citizen the fewer. 

One day after work we walked over part of this 
fairy island, past coral trees in scarlet bloom, 
glorious hibiscus blossoms, caladium leaves rich 
in wondrous shading and broad enough for elves 
to sit upon, and rare orchids. We passed by 
hedges of green and up pathways of crotons 
radiant with leaves of yellow, deep maroon, red, 

E 2 



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52 ACROSS PAPUA 

and bright scarlet, and, walking among betel trees 
with slender stems and graceful fronds, paw paws, 
corkscrew palms, and grenadilla vines laden with 
great green fruit, we heard birds of rare plumage 
carolling from out each perfumed bower their 
love-songs, happy as when the world was young. 

Another afternoon we strolled down past the 
sago palms, and were rowed over to Kwato, the 
headquarters of the Rev. M. Abel. He in no way 
suggested the type of missionary dear to my child- 
hood and often still depicted in comic papers as 
sitting in an uncomfortably small, and — ^judging 
by the blazing hymn books — sufficiently hot pot, 
the wMle his congregation dressed in his top hat, 
shockingly cut frock coat and trousers, and huge 
boots, smilingly waited dinner. If such mission- 
aries ever existed in Papua they have, I take it, 
been deservedly eaten. We, at any rate, did not 
meet one. The type we foregathered with in no 
way suggested overdone clericalism, they being in 
the main muscular and business - like looking 
Christians. Indeed, I was told that the Rev. 
Ramsay of Samarai had a particularly "dirty left," 
whUe Mr. Abel looked weU fitted to slog a baU or a 
head, did either merit punishment. He has 
played cricket for his county in days gone by, and 
has coached a team of his native boys who met a 
white eleven from Samarai the day we were at 
Kwato, and, alas for race prestige, beat them " out 
of their socks " ! Some of their bowling and 



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NATIVE SKILLED LABOUR 53 

fielding was excellent, while one fellow knocked up 
a century in quite Jessop-like form, but how he 
and the wicket-keeper stood up to fast " stufiE " in 
their bare feet is one of the race problems I will 
leave alone. 

That Mr. Abel has proved what natives can do in 
the way of carpentry and joinery, and other forms 
of skilled labour is amply shown in his saw mill and 
workshop, both of which, including the driving of 
the engine and the handling of the logs on the 
sawing benches, are entirely run by natives. They 
also make tables, chairs, and other furniture, 
turning legs splendidly, erect houses, and build 
their own boats. It may be objected that all this 
is an interference with white labour, but those 
who take this ground must remember that these 
natives are in their own country, not an alien race 
imported into it, and that consequently by every law 
of justice they should have first claim to their own 
laboiir-market, and that their only bar to employ- 
ment should be their inability to perform skilled 
work satisfactorily. We are aU agreed that the 
unskUled labour be left to them, and indeed that 
they alone can do it, but if men like Mr. Abel can lift 
certain of them out of the slough of being mere 
" hewers of wood and drawers of water " so much 
the better for them, and the better for us, and for 
Papua. There wiU always be a vast majority 
who will remain as they are, but if we stifle the 
upward inspirations of the few we shall inevitably 



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54 ACROSS PAPUA 

some day turn their thoughts inward to brood on 
the injustice of it, and they in turn will fan into 
discontent the many who are ignorant and easily 
led. We want our skilled labour for Australia. 
Papua wiU never be a white working-man's 
country, but if some decide otherwise and go when 
settlement has created openings, there wiU be 
room enough for both for years to come, only as 
a matter of common fairness there can be no line 
drawn as to colour, it must just be a case of the 
survival of the fittest. 

I can further realise that workers in Australia 
would have just cause for complaint if they were 
flooded with the products of cheaply paid skilled 
Papuan labour, but in view of local conditions this 
is unthinkable, and under any circumstances easy 
of prevention. 

I was told that Mr. Abel used picked boys, and 
that no fresh ones were coming on. Doubtless 
they were picked, probably it may be difficult to 
get others, for the Papuan is by choice an agri- 
culturist. If this be so, the opponents of his 
experiment have all the less to fear, but be that as 
it may he is doing good and practical work, if 
only as an object lesson which may bear fruit in 
years to come. 

Water is laid on to the mill and house, which is 
supplied with milk and butter from cows fed and 
kept on the island, and taking him all in all 
Mr. Abel was one of the smartest and most up-to- 



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AN UP-TO-DATE MISSIONARY 55 
date men I met in Papua, and one who at any rate 
believed in teaching the natives both healthy- 
sport and practical work. 

Leaving the cricket ground, which was once a 
swamp and a harbour for anopheles — now practi- 
cally banished from Kwato — we were led by our 
host past well-kept milking sheds up a winding 
path to where the mission house, a spacious 
broad-verandahed bungalow, stood bathed in the 
warm glow of sunset. 

Pirst entering a big room like a haU open at the 
back, we saw Ijdng on mats spread along either 
wall, and rolled in bright-coloured rugs, about 
twenty of the dearest little children, some asleep, 
some looking at us out of great soft dark eyes. 
Later their mothers would carry them off to their 
respective homes ; meanwhile they worked and 
chatted near them. These are Mrs. Abel's 
special care, and she showed us excellent fancy- 
work and plain-sewing by the girls under her 
tuition. Her cousin helps her in aU her labour, 
and we spent a most pleasant dinner-hour chatting 
to these two ladies about the possibilities and 
limitations of Papuan women. Then they gave 
us coffee, and let us smoke on the broad verandah 
with an outlook over the moonlit islands, while the 
natives sang part songs, and solos, to the accom- 
paniment of the organ, and plaintively beautiful 
their voices sounded floating out among the palms 
and over the sleeping sea. Then we said " good- 



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56 ACROSS PAPUA 

bye," and Harris hastened our sleepy oarsmen 
by trolling out a boating song over the pulseless 
bay. 

Thanks to the kindness of the Hon. W. Whitten, 
M.L.C., we had an opportunity to visit Milne Bay 
as his guests. Apart from ourselves, the party 
consisted of the three unofificial members of the 
newly appointed Legislative Council, Messrs. 
Whitten, Weekley, and Little, and Mr. Campbell, 
Resident Magistrate for the Division, a well-read 
ofi&cer full of native lore, and keenly interested in 
his work. The captain of our host's little steamer 
was, I found, a son of the late Commander Connor 
of our Naval Brigade, a very pleasant and in- 
teresting young fellow who had seen service in 
South Africa, and kicked over a lot of the world 
between times. 

We ran out through the China Straits, the 
islands of Fergusson and Norlnanby rising like 
sea wraiths thirty mUes ahead. After steaming 
forty miles we landed and walked in the shade of 
palms to Mr. Whitten' s plantation, where grew 
cocoa-nuts, sago-palms, betel-nuts, pine-apples, a 
fruit of far Ceylon, grenadilla vines, rubber trees, 
taro, sweet-potatoes, and indeed most things that 
spring from the fruitful womb of the tropics, but 
it seemed to me that the owner leant somewhat 
heavily on Providence, for his fences, as obstruc- 
tions, were an insult to the intelligence of the 
dullest pig, while his manager — doubtless a hard- 



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COCOA-NUT GROWING 57 

working and reliable sailor — held the most primi- 
tive views as to how to start a soil scarifier. 

Before re-embarking, Mr. Campbell pointed out 
how absurdly and persistently close together the 
natives plant their cocoa-nuts, with the result 
that the struggle to get high enough to reach 
sunlight and wind resolves itself into a case of the 
survival of the fittest trees. It seems that a 
certain amount of moisture is necessary to bring 
the nuts to fuU maturity, and this nature provides 
in a very ingenious way by using the porous stem 
as a pipe and the head of the tree as a windmill, 
which by swaying the trunk to and fro pumps the 
water from the roots up to the fruit. If this be 
so, it is easy to reaUse how close planting must be 
fatal to aU those trees that fail to reach the 
wind zone, and provides another instance of the 
inadequacy of primal methods in obtaining proper 
results. Individual Resident Magistrates are 
doing what they can to alter this state of affairs, 
but in the near future the Government must take 
in hand the whole question of the gradual 
improvement of the present native methods of 
agriculture. 

Once on board we slowly steamed round the 
shores of the bay. It is a vast amphitheatre, 
sharp-peaked mountains scarred by great ravines, 
with here and there threads of water falling down 
their rugged sides, rising round it from cape to 
cape, while in between the central shore of the 



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58 ACROSS PAPUA 

bay and the hills lies a rich delta of tropical forest 
watered by winding streams. We rowed up one 
of these in the Resident Magistrate's boat. The 
banks were only about two feet above the water, 
and consisted of rich made soil covered with 
tropical foliage. A short pull brought us to a 
village extending for a couple of miles on each 
bank. As we approached, some of the women 
made a great show of sweeping up, for the 
Resident Magistrate is a man who sees that the 
village cleaning ordinance is no dead letter. But 
here there was little to cavil at, so we paddled on 
past houses weU-made and clean, women rowing 
about in light canoes, and happy children playing 
in the water, here and there a tiny island, and 
everywhere lovely trees and splashes of scarlet 
hibiscus, and out beyond the mountains rising 
into white clouds and bluest sky. About 1,000 
people dwell in this village of Naigara, named 
after the river on whose banks it stands ; and that 
row up and back was just a voyage into a world 
where primal man and primal nature still dwelt, 
both as yet in great part protected from civiliza- 
tion's utilitarian hands. Still, the old order must 
change none the less, giving place to the new, but 
Government must see to it that the coming period 
of transition is marked by no acts of injustice, and 
that the dark memories of Milne Bay are never 
re-awakened. 

In this frmtful region there is room enough for 



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A MOON-LIT SEA 59 

white and brown alike to work out and mutually 
improve each other's destinies, if only the more 
highly developed race will realise that morality, 
industry, honesty, firmness, and patience are 
virtues that to be rightly claimed must be con- 
sistently practised in every-day intercourse with a 
people who can respect these attributes, and will 
eventually respond to them, and in certain in- 
stances possibly absorb them into their own Mves. 

As we sailed back over a moon-lit sea, we 
listened to tales of Torres and Cook, and early 
Papua, weU told. What gallant seamen one and 
all they were, steering their crazy sailing ships on 
unknown seas, and picking their unfamiliar way 
through a very labyrinth of reefs, where, now for- 
tified with aU the knowledge handed down from 
that fearless past, men tie their steamers up at 
night and creep with fearful steps by day. How 
stout old Moresby must have cursed when, after 
he had charted all this coast, they found in some 
forgotten drawer on the Continent charts as good 
as his drawn years earher by some adventurous 
navigator. 

Many ships have left their skeletons on these 
islands and coral patches, many men have died by 
the hand of treachery and revenge, but I think 
the most wholesale butchery was that of 300 
Chinese wrecked in the St. Paul on Rossel Island 
on September 30th, 1858. The story goes that 
the natives placed all the Chinamen on a small 



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60 ACROSS PAPUA 

atol close by, supplied them liberally with food, 
and then, as their condition warranted it, rowed 
them over to the mainland and ate them. The 
survivors appear to have been under the im- 
pression that as they did not come back their 
mates were liberated, and so as each batch left 
they were given a Celestial God-speed in the shape 
of a song by those left behind. It is said that to 
this day the natives of Rossel Island include this 
Chinese ditty in their national collection ; but, be 
all this as it may, the fact remains that in 1859 
a lYench steamer took off one Chinaman, who was 
in the fulness of time arrested for "sly grog 
selling " on a Victorian " rush," and pardoned 
when he explained that he was the sole survivor 
of that Celestial holocaust. 

Campbell told us of certain tribes where the 
women wield considerable power even to deciding 
for war or peace. It seems that if at the feast, 
held prior to a proposed foray, the women sang 
and danced, the men saw it through ; but that if 
on the other hand the women sat silent and 
moody, the men still marched off to save their 
faces, but always on some pretence or other 
abandoned the expedition. In another tribe, if a 
woman took off her " rami " and threw it over the 
shoulders of any man about to be killed, he 
became at once '' tabu " and no one dared to 
touch him. But Campbell's best story was of a 
sorcerer. It appears that this man was brought 



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A SORCERER'S REPARTEE 61 

before him charged by the mother and father with 
having by means of sorcery induced an alligator 
to come out of the water and eat their child. 
" You have heard the charge," said Campbell, " is 
it true ? " when to his surprise the accused replied 
with a superior smile, " Why of course it is, I'd be 
a pretty poor sorcerer if I couldn't do a little 
thing like that," and calmly went to gaol, having 
saved his reputation and made his position sure for 
all time, at the trifling cost of a few weeks' "hard." 

On our return we found two bunches of flowers, 
radiant in beauty, subtle of perfume, sent by an 
old gentleman who loves them. Great yellow bells, 
purple, scarlet, and mauve blossoms nameless to 
me but very fair, great caladium leaves, and many 
another leaf I know no name for. 

Our last visit was to the school where Miss 
Griffiths, not long from the Hunter River, is doing 
loving and useful practical work. As we got home 
the setting sun was painting as with gold the 
distant hiUs, and in the morning as we sailed 
away Samarai lying on a sea of glass and under 
a sky of blue seemed to be bidding us to come 
and rest awhile among its palms and flowers some 
other day. 

We passed East Cape, the extreme end of the 
mainland, at eight o'clock, and always in sight of 
land entered Dawson Straits flanked by Normanby 
and Fergusson Islands, clouds rolling over their 
summits, and native gardens dotted about their 



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62 ACROSS PAPUA 

slopes. Before us rose a range of sun-lit, rugged 
hills. On our right lay Cape Dawson, a village 
perched on its forefront, and as we rounded its 
emerald buttresses and dark, vapour-capped 
summit, we saw the Island of Dobu guarding the 
entrance to the main passage — its scarred, keen- 
cut sides rising sheer to its table-topped crest. 

Getting out our boat we rowed along the shore 
tiU we came to a spot where the air was charged 
with pungent fumes, and we could see bubbles 
rising up through water warm to the touch, the 
rocks below being coated with sulphurous 
corrosions. Not far away on Fergusson Island 
the sulphur rises out of natural tubes over about 
two acres, volumes of vapour shooting seventy to 
eighty feet in the air, and hot streams running down 
a ravine into a small lake whose waters are warm 
and impregnated with chemical matter. Some 
day the halt and the maimed, poor souls, and idle 
and over-fed, poor beasts, will find this spot, and 
make an enterprising hotel-keeper rich. Meanwhile 
it acts as a safety-valve for this region, which is g,ll 
volcanic. 

At Samarai, man has aided nature, and for a 
wonder showed a fine appreciation of the eternal fit- 
ness of things in the doing of it. Dobu, on the other 
hand, owes its wild, unstudied, unkempt beauty to 
the divine mother alone. It is an old Methodist 
mission station, but looked somewhat deserted at 
the time of our visit, an island teacher who either 



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WOODLARK 63 

could not or would not speak English appearing to 
be in charge. A number of children, some in 
European dress and all clean, playing about the 
buildings, were evidently scholars, but we could 
gain little or no information owing to the absence 
of the missionary. The natives — who, I was told, 
once dominated all their neighbours — are to-day 
tame, listless and full of skin disease, while the 
villages we visited were dirty, and their inhabitants, 
from the oldest hag to the youngest child, persistent 
beggars. 

Before leaving we lay off the island for a while, 
to aU seeming in a lake, the hiUs on Fergusson 
shrouded in cloud, on Normanby, radiant in green, 
on one shore an extinct volcano ribbed with 
timber-clothed fissures, in the far horizon of the 
outward straits palms were growing as it were on 
the waves ; and in om front Dobu, its cone cut 
into sharp ridges of green, each valley between full 
of the deeper shades of tropical foliage, its summit 
a dead crater rising out of a wealth of palms, 
mangoes, plantains, and gracious trees and glorious 
blooms. Around it all lapped the sea, here blue 
as sapphire, there so crystal clear that we could 
see the wondrous coral kingdoms where dwelt 
fishes of hues as brilliant as those of their fairy 
homes. 

After a calm night we sighted some islands, and 
at eight Woodlark rose in our front, fiat for the 
most part, with a mass of hills at one extremity. 



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64 ACEOSS PAPUA 

Feeling our way through the reefs, — the passage 
was so narrow that one could throw a biscuit from 
the bridge into the shallows on either side — we 
entered the harbour and anchored about a mile off 
shore. 

Landing below the Government buildings which 
stand on a rise just above the bay, we walked for 
one-and-a-half miles along a track cut through 
dense bush to the township. On each side the 
trees were nearly all covered with vines of varied 
shape and shade of leaf, for everywhere in the 
forests of tropical Papua the vegetable parasite 
plays the part of its human brother in civilised 
society, often like him never content till it has 
sucked the life out of some sturdy giant and 
wholly taken his place. 

The mines, two in number, where fairly deep 
sinking has been done, adjoin and certain of the 
inhabitants declared that one had all the ground, 
the other all the gold. Personally, I express no 
opinion. I may be a pessimist, but somehow I 
always associate mines with " calls," and philan- 
thropic institutions, run by the public in the 
interests of managers, engineers, shift-bosses, and 
rank and file. 

The working miners on Woodlark make from 
£5 to £6 a week, and they deserve it. I am not 
so clear as to what the bloated shareholders make 
— ^but they also deserve it. 

There are other mines further out worked in a 



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A PRACTICAL DIGGER 65 

smaller way, and the Hon. F, Weekley, M.L.C., 
who is a practical digger and part owner of one of 
these, is very enthusiastic as to the possibilities 
that lie beneath a deposit of coral that is met with 
on his part of the island. He reckons it to be 
from forty to fifty feet through, and means to see 
the nether side of it. May he find a Mount Morgan 
big enough for himself and aU the plucky fellows 
working on the field ! 

I do not know enough about mining to venture 
an opinion as to Woodlark's future, but some of 
the men who have fought fever and faced aU the 
risks and privations of pioneer work there, are 
still confident and in daily expectation of a big 
find that will land thousands on its shores. The 
Government want to keep this possibility in view 
not only as regards Woodlark but other parts of 
Papua as well, for if it materialises and finds 
them unprepared, God help the diggers, for the 
authorities wiU not be able to do so. 

The township, consisting principally of a few 
miners' humpies, and two stores, each Ucensed to 
seU liquor, is not interesting, but the view from the 
one where we lunched was rather fine. The lunch, I 
regret to say, was not, nor were the washing 
arrangements, still I have faced worse in a licensed 
house on our own south coast. 

The Commission opened in a room still redolent 
of fried tinned sausages, and now packed with 
miners. Right at the start one wUdly drunken 



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66 ACROSS PAPUA 

son of toil began to express amiable but incoherent 
sentiments on things in general, and forcible ones 
as to a mate's eyes in particular, but on my 
explaining that he must stop or be put out, strong 
arms were in a moment about his neck, and he 
was dragged by his head into oblivion. Needless 
to say, there was no policeman nearer than 
Cooktown, so the carrying out of my threat rested 
between ourselves and the diggers, and they as 
usual rose to the occasion. 

They have a hospital at Woodlark, and, what is 
better, a skilful, big-hearted, brave little matron 
who loves her work, and risks health and life 
without any lime-light effects, or martyr oratory, 
to cheer her unnoticed battle with disease. While 
showing us over her small, beautifully - kept 
wards, she told us she had been at " the Coast " 
under Matron McMaster for seven years (so her 
training had been of the best), and of how good 
and considerate the diggers all were to her. I 
should think they would be good to her, though I 
never knew a real digger bad to any woman. 

There are places on the island I would have 
given much to explore, but time would not 
allow, so we rowed off to our ship as the sun was 
setting in a blaze of gold. As we neared her the 
light grew paler, and aU the upper sky was veiled 
by feathery clouds, while near the sea-line tints of 
rose faded imperceptibly into flushes of colour, so 
delicate as to be impossible of name. 



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CHAPTER V. 

AN ISLAND SEA. 

Among the Islands — A Relic of the Past — Kiriwiria— Real Chiefs — 
On Spirits Generally — The Local Story of the Creation — The Mission — 
The Destroying Spirit Hovering over Papua — A Native Dance — A 
Picturesque Anchorage — Pigeon Island — A Worried V.C. — The Patron 
Snake — Moresby Passage — ^Bwaidoga — The Methodist Resolve — Bartle 
Bay — Some Native BeUefs — Native Irrigation Schemes — Dogura — 
Noble Women — -Evensong — One who has borne the Heat and Burden 
of the Day. 

Leaving Woodlark, we steamed into an island 
sea. On our right five of the Marshall Bennett 
Group rose wooded, flat-topped, and all with 
contours so alike that they looked as if turned 
out of one mould. On our left lay the Egum 
Group, a large number of small islands. Before 
reaching these we sighted three canoes all out of 
sight of land. They were built of planks of wood 
caulked with gum, and ca,rried large outriggers 
and a single sail. They are splendid sea boats, 
can sail right close into the wind, and are about 
the fastest and safest craft afloat. At nightfall we 
anchored off one of the Trobriand Group, a wooded 
isle with stone ridges rising out of a mass of 
fohage that fringes its pumice-strewn shore line. 
Most of the villages were built on the top of the 
ridge, one on the shore being small and squalid, 
its thatched huts low, and not on poles. Here 
several of the natives were smeared in black in 
token of mourning. 

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68 ACROSS PAPUA 

George bought me an interesting curio from one 
of them, a short, straight-bladed weapon with 
brass haft and cross hilt, in shape and length not 
unlike a Roman Legionary's sword. Its owner 
could only trace it back to his grandfather ; but, 
as these natives use the word " couteau," I 
suspect it was a rehc either of the old Jesuit 
mission on Woodlark, or of those daring French 
navigators who sailed these waters long ago. 
The blade was too weU tempered for " trade," 
and, though now black with yam juice and dulled 
by splitting palms, may once have been dis- 
coloured by nobler stuff, when gallant wheezens 
were slit in homeric struggles on blood-dyed 
decks. 

Here we floated at anchor over thirty feet of 
water of rarest blue, and yet so clear that we could 
see the coral on the bottom — a wondrous world of 
colour — and then, when the sun went down, great 
waves of rose and green and blue radiated up- 
wards across the sky. 

Kiriwiria is the most important island of the 
Trobriand group, is long, low, and covered with 
rich masses of foliage, and is a fruitful land where 
yams grow to twelve feet in length, the native 
sheds being packed with them. Here fish is also 
abundant, the natives catching them by diving 
down to the reef and crushing on it a sort of fibre 
which exudes a poison, killing the fish, but with- 
out rendering them harmful to man as food. The 



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REAL CHIEFS 69 

people do a certain trade in pearls, but these are 
not of the first quality. They also show con- 
siderable skill in carving wooden lime spoons. On 
this island are two or three fine banyan trees, one 
in front of the Government Station covering, I 
should say, half an acre. 

The inhabitants were, unlike the natives so far 
seen, most industrious, while their chiefs, who 
exact tribute, possessed a certain amount of real 
authority, in striking contrast to the comic opera 
ones in the rest of known Papua. We were told 
that their power generally consisted in the fact 
that they were also sorcerers, or if not, had a 
sorcerer who acted for them. But while this com- 
bination of Church and State goes to show that 
they have either learnt from history, or intuitively 
hit upon the surest method of keeping their people 
in their proper place, i.e., under their feet, it fails 
to account for a good deal, for sorcerers are 
plentiful and feared all over Papua, and ready, I 
take it, to help other chiefs, yet only on the 
Trobriands did we find any actual tribal fealty 
worthy of the name. 

These islanders have a different method for 
dodging spirits to the Kerepunians, for unlike 
them they put no trust in poles, but build their 
huts with roofs touching the ground to prevent 
spirits getting under them and so into their 
houses. I regret to say, however, that they have 
failed, if indeed they ever attempted, to prevent 



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70 ACROSS PAPUA 

the spirits of " Brummagen " from entering into 
themselves, for even as we walked by the village 
we saw them in feverish haste " fakeing " up lime 
spoons and native weapons for our special benefit. 
Spirit of commercial dishonesty, where may men 
hide from thee, where truthfully declare that thou 
art not ? Thou hast dishonoured Japan, fouled 
Africa, poisoned the very heart of India, battened 
on our soldiers from Sebastopol to Pretoria, and 
lo, I found thee once again on a lonely island of 
the Pacific brazenly proffering me, as a genuine 
old betel-nut discoloured lime spoon, a piece of 
dyed stick, the knife-marks stiU fresh upon its Ul- 
carved handle ! 

These people have an interesting, if local, legend 
of the Creation. According to their belief the 
island was first covered with scrub but uninhabited 
by man. Then a great lizard came and scratched 
a hole in the earth. Then a dog came and made 
the hole deeper, then a pig which made it deeper 
still ; and out of this rose five beautiful maidens 
who founded five villages. When asked how 
they, being all women, had offspring, the answer 
was that the maidens laid themselves on the 
ground and rain fell upon them and so the race had 
a beginning. Remembering how after rain the 
earth brings forth all vegetable life, it is easy to 
understand the reasoning which would suggest to 
primitive man such an answer as explaining the 
beginning of life away back in the womb of time. 



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TWO USEFUL MEN 71 

but the strange thing is that until a short while 
ago these people did not in any way connect birth 
with sexuality. 

At the Methodist Mission House and Church 
which stand on a picturesque spot between the 
village and the Government Station, we saw 
several island teachers of both sexes. Most of the 
men were fine handsome fellows, while one Fijian 
girl was distinctly graceful and pretty, all being 
bright and most anxious to do what they could 
for us, but, alas ! practical ignorance of each 
other's language proved a severe handicap to 
gleaning information, and unfortunately the 
missionary in charge was absent at the annual 
conference. We, however, saw a lot of clean, 
bright school children, but from my point of view 
some were overdressed. A rami is graceful, 
sufficient, and is, I feel sure, the healthiest costume 
for the native girls of Papua. 

The Assistant Resident Magistrate, Mr. Bellamy, 
lives in a picturesque, if creaky, native house, and 
with him we found the Hon. M. Morton, one of 
the veteran officials of the territory, and his chief. 
Both were good advertisements for the climate, 
particularly the younger man, who was as well 
set up and pink as a new chum just landed. 
Bellamy (who has trained medical knowledge) is 
doing a great work on the Trobriands, just as Dr. 
Jones is at the lock hospital near Samarai ; indeed 
I bracket these two as among the most practically 



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72 ACROSS PAPUA 

useful men in Papua to-day, and as the natives' 
best friends and only possible saviours. For both 
are fighting a skilled but doubtful battle against 
a loathsome disease, and if they fail the Papuan is 
doomed, and possibly the white man, too; for if 
once the disease spreads on the mainland and 
attacks with decimating force, the black man may, 
urged on by the sorcerers, conceive the idea that it 
is a device of the white man to destroy him, and 
so, bhnd with unthinking rage, may rise in general 
and red revolt. To my mind, from no other 
cause is a serious rising, at this stage of Papuan 
history, within the realms of practical possibilities, 
unless, of course, as the result of criminal official 
weakness or blundering, and I also admit that 
the picture I have drawn is not probable of actual 
fulfilment but, while saying this, I stiU insist that 
it is possible, and so feeling strongly I have written 
strongly in the hope that the Commonwealth 
Government wiU not forget this festering plague 
spot, but rather wUl continue to fight it with no 
petty regard for the cost, and with untiring and 
ceaseless vigilance. 

Mr. Bellamy, young and enthusiastic, thinks it 
can be stamped out. Dr. Jones, viewing it from 
the standpoint of a wider experience, hopes at 
best to hold it in check, but fails to see how even 
this can be done if it gets a hold among the wild 
and, as regards this disease, hopelessly ignorant 
tribes of the interior of Papua. Government, alike 



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A NATIVE DANCE 73 

in the interests of humanity and safety, must see 
to it that he is backed up in every way in his 
efforts to prevent so awful a possibility. 

When on this island we witnessed a native dance 
named " bucoucuna," the performers being all 
men dressed in women's ramis with white feathers 
in their hair, and long plumes of cassowary tails 
tipped with red parrots' down, sticking out from 
their bustles. Men with drums standing in the 
centre were chanting and beating time as the 
dancers circled round them. Then reluctantly we 
left BelTamy and his hospitable bungalow ; and as 
the ship lay four miles off the landing jetty, sailed 
back over the coral reef in the face of a sunset of 
purest gold. 

Once more under way, we passed through islands 
often but a few yards square, green with under- 
growth and sand-ringed, and lonely atols bare of 
all vestige of shade. Then, in our front, the 
Amplet Group rose cone - shaped out of the 
sea. About mid-day we ran between two islands, 
partly wooded, but with great patches of grass on 
their sides and summits. On one a village by the 
shore, on the other, one built upon a spur halfway 
to its crown. They looked like two great emeralds 
set in aqua marine, while everywhere lay other 
islands all beautiful, and in the far distance the 
clouds rolled over the peaks on Fergusson. 

We anchored at the base of a mountain, its 
lower slopes green velvet, its higher altitudes 



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74 ACROSS PAPUA 

forest, with mists rising out of deep-cut ravines, 
its bare and rock-faced head shooting above 
the circling clouds to a height of 4,500 feet. 
All round was stretched a chain of rugged vol- 
canic peaks split by narrow passages, so we lay 
as it were in a lake whose shores were fringed 
by rich masses of timber right to the water's 
edge. 

Landing, some of the ship's people went bird 
shooting, which recalls to mind that earlier in the 
day we passed a small island, in reality little 
more than a piUar of rock with tufts of heather 
growing out of its fissures, which was covered 
with hundreds of pigeons. We visited a village 
on the beach, a somewhat squahd spot, the people 
looking wretchedly thin and half starved, though 
I was told the sea at their feet was teeming with 
fish. Assuming this to be true, these people want 
saving from themselves rather badly. 

As nearly as we could gather from the village 
constable, who was full of excitement and pro- 
vokingly empty of English, the people inland had 
lately killed and eaten a local boy, and had further 
threatened to repeat the act, which seemed to me 
to prove either that we misunderstood the story 
or that they were no judges of flesh foods. I am 
not clear as to what we were expected to do, but 
imagine it was either to bring the mvirderers to 
justice, or to kill and possibly help eat any stray 
bushmen we chanced to come across, just to 



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MORESBY PASSAGE 75 

average matters. Anyway, we had to decline on 
the score of want of time, to say nothing of 
absence of official status. 

According to native behef there dwells in the 
mountain which towers above the village, a great 
snake possessing power to make or mar their crops. 
I fancy he has too much regard for his stomach 
to interfere with them personally. 

We left Ealkeran at sunrise, its peak shooting 
up out of a sea of mist, and coasted along the 
shores of Fergusson. As we passed through the 
narrow Moresby Passage wonderful effects came 
and went. On one shore rose a mountain its sides 
in shadow, its crown partly in glorious light, in 
part full of gloom. On our other bow Goodenough 
or Morata rose, aU its billowy slopes and bands of 
foliage reflecting every shade of emerald, and aU 
its peaks shrouded in fleecy cloud. Beneath us 
was the water full of changing hues ; on high the 
sky pale blue beyond the mountain tops and 
richly deep as rare cut sapphires above the lower 
cloud banks. Ahead were a conical peak and long 
ranges of mist-shrouded hills, behind lay the open 
sea. White-winged birds floated about our vessel, 
and inshore crept a schooner, her sails showing 
clear against a green-carpeted hill. 

We anchored off the Mission Station and got out 
our boat just as the missionary and his bride of 
yesterday sailed in, and so together we landed, 
our party joining with the natives in welcoming 



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76 ACROSS PAPUA. 

Mrs. Ballentine to her new home. It was a 
picturesque and in a way a pathetic episode of 
missionary life. The marriage had taken place on 
the previous afternoon at the new Methodist 
Headquarters, immediately on the close of the 
annual conference, and they had sailed away 
the same evening in an open boat manned by 
natives, being at sea all night but reaching 
Bwaidoga as we hove to. So these young people 
began two voyages at one and the same time, one 
of which we saw safely accomplished, and I pray 
that the other, which I hope wiU be vastly longer 
and I know will be far more fuU of incident, will 
also end in some sure anchorage protected alike 
from life's reefs and hurricanes. We all admired 
the way the bride rose to the occasion. Picture 
the situation, no other white woman, and the 
brown ones strange and from a "maid" stand- 
point hopeless; home a batchelor one, husband 
anxious to help, but a man ; no idea where any- 
thing was, never having seen the place before, and 
four utter strangers to entertain at her first four 
o'clock, and yet she accomplished the feat without 
fuss or outward worry and was most kind and 
nice in the doing of it. 

I found Mr. Ballentine, the first Methodist so 
far met, a practical, earnest young fellow who had 
seen service in South Africa. He told me the late 
conference had unanimously decided to teach 
English at all their stations, and while I am not 



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TEACHING ENGLISH A DUTY 77 

clear as to how this is to be effectively done where 
island teachers are in charge, I still feel a deep 
respect and an earnest desire for the ultimate 
success of men who came to this decision " because 
they felt it was their duty to teach English to 
British subjects." It will be well for the Papuan 
when all men hold similar views as to the duty 
they owe alike to him and the Empire to which all 
— both white and brown — ^belong. 

After a slight roU and a i&ne view of a tropical 
storm on the hUls, we anchored off the Anglican 
Station at Bartle Bay. Landing on a shore dotted 
with palms and shady trees we were met and taken 
up a well-made winding road to the comfortable 
mission house, which stands on a small plateau 
with a wonderful background of peaks ' and 
volcanic formations, indescribably picturesque in 
colouring, and remarkable ahke in the grandeur 
and delicacy of their contours. 

The natives believe that in two of these moun- 
tains dwell spirits, nor do I wonder, for they 
seemed to me too stately as abodes for puny 
mortals. They also assert that somewhere amid 
their solitudes an old woman stands changed to 
stone, which is interesting by reason of its likeness 
to the Biblical story of Lot's wife. 

Close by are three purely native irrigation 
schemes. In one a tunnel has been cut through 
the base of a cliff ; in all they dam the natural 
stream and so flood a main channel from which 



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78 ACROSS PAPUA 

branch lesser tributaries, each man having an 
allotted time during which he may drain the water 
from these into his own ground. I know of no 
other place in Papua, save on the Fly, where 
methodical irrigation is carried out by the natives. 

Dogura shows evidence of care and systematic 
management both in its buildings and grounds, 
and it was a pleasant picture and hopeful future 
sign to see a fine herd of cattle feeding on the 
grassy slopes. I understand they number between 
eighty and ninety, that milk is abundant, and that 
at Hioge they have a team of bullocks doing good 
work. This mission has planted a considerable 
number of cocoa-palms, and grows large quantities 
of native food at its various stations. 

We had tea in a cool basement room with four 
ladies of the mission, the Rev. Copland King, and 
a young student not long from Victoria, who was 
very keen but as yet somewhat worried by the 
native languages. Two of the four ladies had 
been on the Mambare doing medical nursing, aU 
alone, in one of the dreariest and most deadly 
spots in Papua. Such gentle, patient, heroic 
women are alike the salt and sweet savour of the 
earth. Another was in charge of the school, and 
indeed I feel certain that all were walking with 
singleness of heart and purpose what they held to 
be the path of duty. 

Later we attended evensong, and heard the 
boys sing in their own language, Mr. King con- 



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PRACTICAL USEFULNESS 79 

ducting the service in Papuan with a fluency I 
wish he could induce his congregation to emulate 
from an English standpoint. 

He is an Australian, being a member of an old 
and well-known New South Wales family, and 
came to this coast when a missionary's work was 
full of risk and hardship, and in a quiet, unosten- 
tatious way has been leading a life of practical 
usefulness ever since. He believes in white settle- 
ment, and I feel will do all in his power to help it 
on, for being in no sense hide-bound by old Crown 
Colony traditions or prejudices, he realises that a 
settled white population is more likely to do the 
natives good than harm. 

This mission is ruled over by a Bishop, who was 
absent from Papua during our visit, but who, I 
understand, has given practical proof of his love 
for the work by spending most, if not aU, his 
private fortune on his diocese. 

As the moon came up, Mr. King and his comrade 
saw us to the shore, and then we sailed out into 
the night and away from this most lovely and 
hospitable spot. 



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CHAPTER VI. 

CAPE NELSON TO TAMATA — A BRAVE MAN AND 
A WONDERFUL MARCH. 

Cape Nelson — " Victory " — The One Climb Left — The Fiords— A 
Practical A.R.M. — The Amphibians — Blood Money — Justice, Swift 
and Stem — ^The Power of a Fearless Heart — ^Buna Bay — Ora Bay — 
Mambare Beach — Tamata— Childish Sport— The Story of Corporal 
Sedu — The Rout — Two Lessons— Bushimi and Oya— Bushimi's March 
from Sea to Sea. 

We arrived off Cape Nelson in the midst of a 
shower which utterly spoUt the view from the sea, 
but in the afternoon our disappointment was all 
forgotten. For we rowed up a marvellous arm of 
the sea, fenced on each shore by sheer cliffs and 
steep-faced ranges, all clothed and crowned with 
palms and mangoes and giant vines, whUe ever 
ahead rose in splendid confusion a very tumult of 
hiUs, broken and torn and tumbled before the feet 
of Britannia, Temaraire, and Trafalgar, while 
Victory's crater, whence smoke for ever rises, 
towered in their rear. 

When last in active eruption, a stream of boiling 
water and lava rose out of one of its craters and 
poured down its side into the sea, sweeping away 
to ruin and death the villages nestling on its slopes, 
and leaving as a sign and mark of vengeance a 
great rift cut through the forest and into the earth 
itself. Victory is about the only mountain of 



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THE FIORDS 81 

importance still unclimbed in British Papua. In 
the past at least one attempt has been made but 
failed, and when we were there the Resident 
Magistrate, Mr. Manning, meditated a try, but he 
has since departed, so the field is still open for 
any adventurous soul with a leaning towards 
cremation. 

This delta is pierced by over thirty fiords, aU 
radiating outwards from the mountains like the 
ribs of an open fan, and all beautiful as the one 
we rowed up on that still, sensuous afternoon. 

The station is picturesquely situated on a bluff 
near the mouth of one of the fiords, and we looked 
down almost sheer on to the masts of the Merrie 
England as she lay at anchor below. Mr. 
Manning and his Assistant Resident Magistrate, 
Mr. Higginson, made us very comfortable. The 
latter, by the way, appears to have profited by his 
Queensland bush training, for his chief told me he 
had buUt the gaol and was the handy man of the 
station. Young Australians of this type are the 
men to send to Papua where an ounce of practical 
experience of how to make the best of things is 
worth a ton of theory. 

Mr. Manning showed us some interesting photo- 
graphs of a tribe, erroneously said to be 
" web-footed," who live in some marshes on the 
north-east coast. The pictures we saw were of 
ugly, thin, misshapen creatures, their legs, through 
constant kneeling in canoes, being abnormally 



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82 ACROSS PAPUA 

developed in certain directions, their feet splay, 
but not webbed. Apparently driven into the 
marshes in the past, they build their houses on 
poles above the water, fattening the pigs in nets 
himg under them, and using light canoes that can 
skim over or through the flags and reeds. At one 
time they used to procure wives by capturing 
women, probably by cunning, from the mainland, 
but when Captain Barton and Mr. Manning visited 
them, this means of perpetuation was evidently a 
thing of the past, for only seven or eight of these 
miserable amphibians remained. 

While we were at Cape Nelson some natives 
came in, bringing with them a half -starved poor 
devil of a boy who had run away from a digger 
on the Mambare and was attempting to make for 
his home. Having handed him over, they were 
given some blood money in the shape of tobacco 
and went away happy. 

Possibly experience has proved that this is 
alike the right, only, and most merciful method of 
stopping desertions, and saving these escapees 
from starvation and murder among strange and 
savage tribes, but frankly I do not like it, not 
because the criminal is given up — for that is 
properly insisted upon wherever laws obtain — but 
by reason of the payment for, or bribery to do, an 
act which can only be justified on the ground that 
it is performed not for gain but in the public 
interest. To my mind it is offering a premium 



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JUSTICE SWIFT AND STERN 83 
for treachery to undeveloped minds unworthy of 
our best traditions, and calculated to sap all true 
sense of race loyalty in the people we have 
accepted the responsibiUty of guiding and govern- 
ing. 

Soon after leaving Cape Nelson we passed the 
mouth of a river where Sir William McGregor 
meted out blood-red justice to a tribe before 
warned, and yet caught in the very act of cooking 
and eating human flesh. For, avowed champion 
though he was of native rights, he yet never 
hesitated to take life if, in his opinion, it was the 
only way to prevent inter-tribal cruelty and 
slaughter. 

I was told a story of McGregor's African rule 

which, even if not true, is at least typical of the 

man. He had experienced considerable trouble 

with an inland and rebeUious chief, and at last 

decided to settle with him personally, so started 

his march through the forest in search of him. 

Full of vigour, he soon left his escort far behind, 

and at last, striding on in deep abstraction, tore 

some vines out of his path to find himself in the 

entrance of a clearing and face to face with the 

chief, who sat on a rude dais, a double row of 

warriors, clubs in hand, hning the path from 

where McGregor stood to where the rebel insolently 

waited. like a flash he realised that he was 

alone, and then, without a moment's hesitation, 

strode on past all those scowling faces, and seizing 

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84 ACROSS PAPUA 

the astonished chieftain by the throat, hurled him 
to the ground, and mounting the throne, sat upon 
it. Twenty minutes later his escort found him 
still sitting there with folded arms and steady 
eyes — the warriors held by his imperious gaze, 
their chieftain grovelling at his feet. 

For a time we saw the smoke rising into the 
clear morning air above " Victory's " bare and 
scarred summit, but afterwards the beauty seemed 
to fade out of sea and shore. 

The Port of the Northern Division and sea 
terminus of the Yodda and Kokoda road is a 
wretched hole, low lying, and surrounded by 
mangrove and other anopheles breeding swamps. 
A few days before our arrival they had an earth- 
quake and tidal wave. Had the latter meant 
business we would have looked in vain for either 
Government or private stores, as all three are 
practically level with the water. In addition to 
these land disadvantages, the approach from the 
sea is very bad, and the anchorage itself almost 
an open roadstead. 

In view of the splendid land for sugar-cane and 
for aU-round tropical agriculture, and the timber 
and mineral possibilities of this division, it can 
be only a question of a short time till Ora Bay is 
made the port. 

Unlike the present disease centre, Ora Bay, 
which is only thirty miles distant, could be made a 
fairly healthy settlement, being surrounded by 



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A DAY OF TERROR 85 

high ground and possessing fresh water. As a 
harbour it is also far superior, being much 
better protected from the prevailing winds. A 
short deviation would connect it with the main 
Yodda road, and if the Government is really 
anxious to save the health and lives of its white 
settlers they will make the change without delay, 
for a great percentage of the malaria which 
develops inland is contracted in the narrow 
anopheles belt that surrounds Buna Bay. Town 
there is none, and I doubt if I am even justified 
in dubbing township, a Government dep6t and a 
private store set side by side, and a third one half- 
a-mile further round the bay. 

To reach Mambare Beach we sailed along a 
prettily-wooded coast with the main range in 
full view, the great peaks of " Victoria " and 
" Albert Edward " (the twin giants of Papua) 
rising in bold relief, and in the dim distance " The 
Gap " which two of us would soon have to climb. 
Passing "Mitre Rock" we saw the German 
frontier and dropped anchor opposite the low- 
l3dng mouth of the Mambare River, that stream of 
dead hopes and live mosquitoes. 

The day we lay there it was aU so silent and 
lifeless that it took an effort to conjure up that 
other day of terror in '96 when diggers and their 
"boys," flying from black revolt, left Tamata in 
flames and their comrades weltering in blood and 
unavenged, and, drifting out to sea on rafts, found 



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86 ACROSS PAPUA 

safety on German ground. They showed us the 
tree where one poor wretch, not so fortunate, 
sought cover, only to be given up as a plaything 
to the children, who stoned him until he fell to 
earth — and death. 

Two episodes stand out in strong relief against 
a dark background of treachery in this Tamata 
massacre. The surprising trust in " moral 
suasion" displayed by the gallant and experienced 
Mr. Green, a trust which was apparently not 
shaken even by the warnings of his own men, and 
the heroic death of Corporal Sedu, who, when he 
might have escaped, elected to return unarmed 
and die with a leader who taunted him with being 
a coward. 

This is shortly the story as I heard it. The 
tribes about Tamata showing signs of unrest, Mr. 
Green, a man noted for his successful handling of 
natives, was sent there. In pursuance of his 
theory that trust begets trust, he ordered his men 
to work unarmed. Very soon they heard enough 
to make them realise the danger this course 
involved, and at last, one morning. Corporal Sedu 
told Green of their fears and begged him to let 
them carry their carbines. Green refused to 
believe there was treachery, and on Sedu insisting, 
called out, " All who are not cowards pile arms." 
All, including Sedu, obeyed. Once in the bush, 
Green sent Sedu on some message, and while he 
was away the attack began which could only have 



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TWO LESSONS 87 

one ending. Still, though well knowing this, and 
indeed while probably still smarting under his 
leader's contemptuous disregard of his warning, 
Sedu, on hearing the cries of battle, deliberately 
ran back, and, unarmed, was killed at his master's 
side, being like a true soldier " faithful unto 
death." 

With the death of Green and his police, forty 
white men, armed, but without discipUne or a 
leader to rally round, became a panic-stricken 
rabble. Tamata was destroyed, and a demoralized 
remnant drifted down the river and out to sea, 
whUe for a season red revolt reigned supreme. 

To my mind the death of Sedu and his comrades, 
and the magnificent discipline displayed by them 
in the face of what they knew to be certain 
annihilation, teUs us with no uncertain voice what 
splendid material *for soldiers we have in Papua if 
led by men they respect and love. The failure on 
the other hand of an undisciphned mob of white 
men, armed but leaderless, to hold their own, 
should be a lesson atid an answer to those who, 
relying solely on race prestige, too often to-day 
neglect all ordinary precautions, and so make 
possible another Tamata. For, under similar con- 
ditions, what happened once may happen again, 
and to-day in parts of Papua conditions are little 
different from those on the Mambare in 1896. 

Papua is in truth a land which is a law unto 
itself in many ways, for as we sat talking of 



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88 ACROSS PAPUA 

Tamata, the old chief, Bushimi by name, who 
planned and led the massacre, came on board, 
accompanied by his son Oya. They were physically 
both splendid men — Bushimi, now fuU of years 
and respectability, being a retired policeman, his 
mantle having fallen on Oya who later was on our 
escort, and I often wondered if he was one of the 
bright little children who stoned the fugitive out 
of the tree on Mambare beach. 

Bushimi had some stirring times after Tamata, 
and before he joined the " foorce," was captured 
and sent with three others to Port Moresby gaol on 
the other side of Papua. From there he and they 
managed to escape, and attempted the apparently 
impossible feat of walking across an luiknown 
country, through hostile tribes, speaking languages 
different from their own, and over a perfect maze 
of mountains, including the main Owen Stanley 
range. But impossible was a word without 
meaning to the stout-hearted old Bushimi, so he 
did it, arriving home alone. History is silent as 
to the fate of his mates. Ill-natured people say 
he brought aU of them back with him save their 
bones, but this I do not believe, although I admit 
that to keep the commissariat going must at times 
have strained even the ingenuity of a Bushimi. 



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CHAPTER VII. 

FKOM SEA TO SEA — BUNA BAY TO THE DIVIDE. 

Getting Ready — We divide Forces — We begin our March from Sea to 
Sea — We enter the Forest — The Fever Belts — On the Bank of the 
Girinri — Some of om' Fellow Travellers — Primal Papua — Kandarita — 
A Village Crone— Children of Nature and the Sun— The First Fruit of 
the Land — Half Devil, Half Child — We Reach the Yodda Road Again 
— Statues in Bronze — Some Types — Grass Patches — An Hereditary 
Office — ^Native Gardens — Log Bridges — A Papuan Moses — A Dainty 
Maid — A Native Climber — Running Amok — ^We Reach the Kumusi — 
A Grim Tragedy — An Epicure's Opinion — From the Rest House — 
A.N.C. Dandies — A Native Market — ^We Cross the Kiimusi — Suspen- 
sion Bridges — Natural Engineers — A Sorcerer — A Faith that should 
Move Mountains — Fairly Strong in the 'Seventies — The Divide — 
"Purple Patches." 

Abriving back at Buna Bay Mr. Monckton had a 
busy time on shore with the carriers, while George 
essayed the deHcate task of getting his own way as 
to the clothes we were to carry. I still feel certain 
he broke faith with me on the trousers question. 

Parting with Okeden was the one big fly in our 
ointment, not only for loss of his comradeship but 
because we both knew how keen he was to come. 
StiU one of us had to sacrifice inclination to duty, 
and so ever generous he turned his back on a long 
cherished hope and wished us both God-speed. 

Being left behind was also a knock-down blow to 
poor Harris, but in his case I dared not risk the extra 
danger of fever that the trip entailed, for being 
not only Secretary, but taker and transcriber of 
evidence as well, his breakdown would have 



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90 ACROSS PAPUA 

dislocated all our work, but he too put his dis- 
appointment behind him — ^like the loyal fellow he 
was — and handed over his camera to Herbert 
gladly, and yet I fancy with fear and trembling. 

On the morning of October 15th we saw long 
lines of black figures (every second one carrying a 
pole) marching along the beach to the Government 
Dep6t, and at eight o'clock we went over the side 
and were rowed ashore, armed with revolvers and 
water bottles, Herbert sporting, to my exceeding 
envy, a pair of English shooting boots he had pur- 
chased from Manning, while I wilted in Australian 
bluchers at lis. 9d., further brought into iU-shapen 
relief by service putties. The Hon. William 
Little, M.L.C., chose as his travelling costume a 
pair of dehcately-toned pyjama pants stuck into 
pale blue socks with white toes and facings at 
Is. 8d., bluchers tied with severely simple twine, 
and dark blue shirt cut low at the neck, with 
regulation evening sleeves, and a felt hat of a 
colour known to connoisseurs as rusty brown. 
Being an old hand, he didn't worry about a water 
bottle, and carried his revolver wrapped up with 
his blanket on some native's back. Greorge ran to 
moles, bluchers, a twill shirt, and a battered topi, 
the butt of a revolver, presented to him by Sir 
William, showing — early buccaneer style — above 
his belt ; while Mr. Monckton, Resident Magistrate 
for the Northern Division and commander of our 
escort and carriers, was spic and span and 



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WE ENTER THE FOREST 91 

business-like, from his well-roUed putties to his 
oiled and flexible revolver cross-belts. 

Marshalling his squad of twelve armed native 
constabulary and 130 carriers, who either bore 
their loads singly in bags held on their backs by 
shoulder straps, or swung midway on a pole rest- 
ing on the shoulders of two, he set his column in 
motion, while out in the bay the Merrie England 
gathered way. Then, as she whistled farewell, we 
turned our backs, but not our hearts, on our good 
friends, and plunged into the forest. 

Passing through a village we tramped along a 
narrow track which would have been a quagmire 
in bad weather, through tropical forest broken by 
open patches of high, coarse grass, Monckton 
forcing the pace to get us through the anopheles 
belt, and eight mUes out crossed a broad but 
shallow river, and camped in at least comparative 
safety, as malarial mosquitoes were not so 
numerous from here on. 

Herbert had a slight visitation of Barcoo as we 
came along, but apparently vanquished an old 
enemy effectually, as he was neither sick nor 
sorry from then out, while George spent the 
evening livening up our boys and wrestling with 
old fever germs. As a personal servant the Papuan 
has distinct limitations. 

We found the tramp trying, being out of form, 
and came in soaked with perspiration. Still, the 
experience was all fresh and fuU of interest. 



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92 ACROSS PAPUA 

Round our camp the forest rose, and from it came 
the famihar cry of cockatoos and the unknown 
songs of other birds. 

We had a fly each and a taut canvas hammock 
covered with a suffocating cheese - cloth net, 
ordinary ones being useless to counter the on- 
slaught of a Papuan mosquito ; but the rest of 
our camp was picturesque, the carriers having in 
an incredibly short space of time transformed the 
road into a street of palm-thatched "lean-to's," 
where, on platforms raised two or three feet above 
the ground, they sat and ate and made merry, 
and slept huddled together, the clean utterly 
indifferent to the presence of those scaled with 
skin disease. Under this platform they often 
built a small fire, and in the high altitudes I have 
seen them packed round it as weU as on the 
stage above. Camp seems for them to be a 
continual feast, for often in the night if they 
wake, a fresh attack is made on anything handy. 
In their quick erection of shelters they are greatly 
aided by the soft and easily-split timber and the 
broad leaves which grow ready to hand for 
roofing. 

In our party were nine men in chains, about to 
be tried for eating a mail boy. I was told they 
would get about a year apiece, not an excessive 
price to pay it struck me, particularly if they 
were epicures. 

Our carriers were of the Berindiri race and men 



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A TROPICAL JOURNEY 93 

of splendid physique, probably because until a 
few years ago they always killed weak and 
deformed male children ; strange to say they 
let all the girls live, holding that weak women 
might stiU bear strong sons. 

After a wet night, day came in fine, and striking 
camp at 7.15 we almost at once left the main 
track and plunged into primal Papua. 

Following native paths, we clambered over a 
rude fence to find ourselves in the largest garden 
we had yet seen. Here amidst a perfect riot of 
vegetation grew plantains, taro, sugar-cane, and 
other edible fruits and roots. Then on we 
tramped, the great trees making so thick a canopy 
that even the tropical sun could not find us, past 
giants with flanges about their trunks between 
which one might stable horses, by the banks and 
through the channels of crystal streams fringed 
with great bulrushes, while around and above us 
were palms and vines, trees and plants in indescrib- 
able variety. Crossing a plain of high grass and 
fervent heat we approached, amid cries of 
" orokolo " (peace), a small but beautifully clean 
village. Here they came and laid wooden bowls 
of sago, boiled yams, and baked plantains before 
us as offerings. I know the local white man's 
reply to this would be — "Yes, but they always 
expect a quid fro quo" literally in this case a 
few bits of tobacco ; but one who has wandered 
alone into spots where no white man has had a 



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94 ACROSS PAPUA 

chance to teach this detestable doctrine of nothing 
for nothing, told me that in such places it was not 
so. In what part, I wonder, of civilized and 
Christian England or Australia could a hungry- 
man walk into a town or village and have the 
best its people possessed put at his feet unasked, 
and on the off-chance of being paid for ? 

After a rest we continued our march, and at 
1.15 reached the big village of the Bakai tribe, 
Kandarita by name, being welcomed, as before, 
with calls of " orokolo." This custom on the 
part of the Berindiri has led to their being called 
" Orokolos," which is both misleading and in- 
correct, as " orokolo " is a word in their language 
merely meaning " peace," and possessing no tribal 
significance whatever. 

We camped in the middle of the village, which 
was built on a circular piece of land near a stream, 
and sTu-rounded by tropical vegetation, and, while 
the houses were flimsy, and of poor construction, 
the ground they stood on was absolutely bare of 
grass, being swept so clean that a man might 
literally eat his dinner off it, save for the danger 
of getting his head cracked by the nuts that every 
now and then fell from the trees dotted over it. 
StroUing about, we noticed twelve poles set in a 
row, completely hidden by cocoa-nuts from base 
to summit, and were told that this was done partly 
as a sign of prosperity, partly as a means of 
storing the nuts for future planting. All the men 



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A VILLAGE CRONE 95 

we met were most friendly, but when one began 
to feel my arms in a creepy, affectionate, ap- 
proving sort of way, I began to realise with a 
pang that I was the only decent eating in the 
party ! 

Another humourist began to lift his leg over 
imaginary obstacles, to the accompaniment of 
facial contortions suggestive of pain, and in a 
moment I remembered that I had been helping 
my " gammy " leg over the logs we met with that 
day. Doubtless one of the carriers had told the 
story, and I fancy my mimic had reacted my 
hobbling only too well, judging from the effect he 
had on Herbert and Little. But he was a good- 
hearted fellow for all his fun at my expense, for 
he took us to a httle deformed child, and I am 
siire tried to ask us if we could help it. Indeed, 
they all seemed ready to take or make a joke, 
which, of course, on either side had to be cracked 
by gesture, facial or otherwise, and I thought 
they were very nice and polite to laugh at some 
of Herbert's efforts. 

The only women we saw were old and past 
praying for, but one ancient dame fascinated me 
alike with her ugliness and appetite. She sat 
under the raised floor of a hut beside a little fire, 
her head caked over with white clay, her limbs 
too thin to cast a shadow, and ate, it seemed to 
me, for hours, solemnly, methodically, persistently. 
Sometimes a little pig would come along, and she 



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96 ACROSS PAPUA 

would fondle it against her withered breasts and 
share a plantain with it, and then hunt it away 
and reach for a yam. George reckoned she was 
in mourning for a husband. I shouldn't wonder ! 
I only envy him the joy he must have known 
when death became a certainty. 

Many of the men were ApoUos in bronze, and I 
was told that the young women were as a rule of 
fine physique, but we saw none of them, aU having 
left the village before our arrival. 

As an instance of their natural honesty these 
natives carry hundreds of pounds worth of store- 
keepers' and miners' goods from Buna Bay to the 
Yodda without even one white man in charge, and 
nothing is ever stolen. Where among Christian 
peoples can a better record be shown, and I 
wonder if they themselves wiU show as good a one 
after enjojdng the blessings of civilisation for a few 
years ? 

Monckton told me that only two white men had 
been in this vOlage before us — himself and Bishop 
Stone-Wigg — so we saw it surrounded by a 
practically inviolate rampart of virgin forest, its 
people as yet untainted, just children of Nature 
and the Sun. 

As evening fell men and women poured in from 
all sides laden with plantains, pumkins, paw paws, 
melons, mangoes, sugar cane, taro, yams, and other 
fruits, and as they reached its borders, the whole 
village greeted them with a rich, deep booming note 



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HALF DEVIL, HALF CHILD 97 

of welcome indescribably grand. Then as I sat 
writing outside my fly they came and laid offerings 
of fruit at my feet, and rising I thanked them in 
dumb show and with all the dignity pyjamas leave 
a man. 

As I lay in my hammock that night — one of four 
white men among hundreds of black ones — the 
other side of the picture rose before me. How 
these undoubtedly charming people had tiU quite 
recently eaten their prisoners, just tying their arms 
and legs together like a pig, then thrusting a stick 
through and cooking them alive by holding them 
over a slow fire, and how, in proof thereof, some of 
them had been kind enough that very evening 
when Monckton was absent to show me a charred 
skull, and, whUe apologising for having only one, 
to explain that there were quite a lot at the next 
village, and how that afternoon I had seen them 
roasting pigs not dead, until stopped by the native 
police ; but who was I to cavil at this last, seeing 
I belong to a race that boils its lobsters alive in 
their shells ? StiU, all things considered, I thanked 
God that undeveloped peoples so tersely and truly 
described by Kipling as "half devil, half child" 
never seemed to realise their strength nor our too 
frequent weakness. 

We marched again into the forest at 7.20, the 
villagers sending after us their rich note of 
farewell. After a walk of one and a half hours, 
through dense bush and hot patches of grass, we 



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98 ACROSS PAPUA 

struck the Yodda Road once more, and tramping 
on through splendid aisles of timber, came to a 
picturesque river, on whose farther bank we had 
" Ki Ki," a term used for all food by the natives, 
be it early or late as to time, human or otherwise 
as to substance. 

Here I saw some unstudied poses such as Phidias 
would have loved. Two boys asleep under a tree, 
graceful as fauns, a man lying on a bank resting, 
each rounded limb a study in lithe contour and 
agile strength. These men are nude save for, in 
some cases, a narrow breech clout, so no excresence 
of clothes as yet hides or curbs their natural grace 
or saps a vitaMty absorbed direct from the sun. 
I was told they are a virtuous people, not 
passionate, and holding in abhorrence unnatural 
crimes. Unhke the South-Eastern tribes, their 
hair is shaved back from the forehead and worn in 
short slender curls cut square about the nape 
of the neck, which, with their type of features, 
suggested the Egyptians of the Pharaohs. Others 
when decorated with war plumes are not unlike 
American Indians, while many, if white and dressed 
for the part, would be accounted distinctly 
clever-looking professional men of the physically 
handsome type. 

On resuming our march, we waded through lakes 
of grass breast high (the path so narrow that we 
had to brush the stems aside), and bordered by 
towering trees, vines from thirty to forty feet long 



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A SNARER OF BIRDS OF PARADISE 99 

(and thick as ropes) hanging from them, while over 
all glowed a wealth of colour, which rain and sun 
alone can give. Then, hot and sweltering, we 
reached the end of the last patch, and passing 
once more into the shaded distances of the forest 
track, got into camp just^ahead of the rain. 

Before arriving, we passed over the ends of 
Mount Lamington's lowest spurs (they were 
scarcely perceptible by the way), and were told 
that this part of the road was found by lucky 
accident. It appears that the officer, seeking in 
vain for a practicable trek through the ravines, 
chanced upon an ancient man sitting gazing 
fixedly aloft into a tree. He promptly secured 
him, and later with his help marked out the 
present road, the old gentleman when captured 
explaining that he was the hereditary snarer of 
birds of paradise, hence the absorbed attitude 
which resulted in his undoing. 

Above our camp bird-nest ferns swung from 
ropes of creepers in mid-air, then, as day grew 
dim, the great green leaves grew more sombre, the 
forest yet more still, the drowsy song of the stream 
a lullaby, until only the occasional collapse of an 
overwrought platform brought us back out of the 
land of dreams. 

Then the call of the cricket (known as the New 

Guinea clock) told us the sun had set out beyond 

the clouds and the forest. For rain or shine, this 

insect with unfailing accuracy hails the going down 

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100 ACROSS PAPUA 

of the day-god, and men set watches by it, as 
in cities they regulate their time from the one 
o'clock gun. 

In the morning we did twelve miles at a pace 
which took it out of my leg, the country being 
densely-wooded, and in parts we marched through 
acres of old native gardens, overgrown and full of 
wild plantains. One of the first things that must 
strike a visitor, accustomed to even the sprawliness 
of much of our Australian farming, is the almost 
universal Papuan custom of deserting a garden 
after a year or so and starting a fresh one, the 
old one, I was told, being often left unused 
and utterly neglected for ten or twelve years. 
Admitting that the food grown may take a lot 
out of the soil, it still appears to me that the 
present primitive method will yet yield to closer 
cultivation and better returns when once the 
example set by Government and private plantations 
becomes more general and manifest, but even if 
not, there is still plenty of land in Papua for both 
white and broAvn to work each on his own system 
without hurt or injustice to one another. 

Every now and then we crossed beautiful 
streams by means of single logs, sometimes from 
thirty to seventy feet long, and often slippery as 
glass, but as a result of practice we began to sail 
over them at full pace. 

On the morning that we regained the Yodda 
Road, a benevolent and venerable patriarch joined 



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A PAPUAN MOSES 101 

us. His strongly-marked features were Indian in 
type as was his hair, worn long and straight on the 
shoulders: his only garment was a cotton shirt 
brown as himself. I am not yet clear as to whether 
he was prophet, priest, or king, but anyhow, with 
a bamboo pipe in one hand and a staff in the 
other, he headed the procession for several days, 
a veritable Papuan Moses leading us through the 
wilderness. 

At lunch hour about a hundred men and women 
came in from outlying villages bearing loads of 
sugar-cane, pumpkins, taro, and yams for their 
friends and to sell — and so fruitful a land is this 
that from now on such visits became of daUy 
occurrence. As I looked in interested surprise at 
the evidence of nature's prodigal response to man's 
primitive efforts, a dainty little maiden put a 
bunch of bananas at my feet with a gesture grace- 
ful as it was shyly modest. She could not have 
been more than twelve, but was fast ripening into 
womanhood, and her slight yet perfect limbs, small 
wrists and ankles, and delicately proportioned feet 
and hands, recalled to my mind Brahmin ladies 
bearing water to wash the vessels of the gods in 
Southern India. 

After we pitched camp one of our carriers climbed 
a tree, fuUy a hundred feet high, by tjdng his 
ankles together with fibre and just shinning up. 
Many of these great trees have no tap roots, and 
on wet nights (and all our nights were seas of 



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102 ACROSS PAPUA 

tropical rain) we could hear them crashing to their 
doom out in the blackness of the forest. As there 
is nothing for it but to camp in and under timber 
in this part of Papua, this peculiarity on the part 
of the trees adds a fresh excitement to travel, 
particularly on windy nights. 

While in camp a man came to us showing by 
signs that his head was aching. Poor feEow, his 
forehead was all scored with cuts — the native 
method of relieving pain. Later we heard a great 
commotion among the carriers, and discovered he 
had started to run amok but had been promptly 
suppressed. Monckton dosed him and next day 
he was doing his share as if nothing had happened. 
This is another possibility that helps to lift Papuan 
journeys out of the region of the humdrum. 

Starting at 6,50 we did the first five miles in 
great form, constantly crossing streams on logs and 
" sloshing " through wet patches, for we were on 
falling ground to the Kumusi River, a broad, 
rapid, and picturesque stream where first we 
touched its right bank. 

Near here some years ago two diggers were 
caught, cooked and eaten. Whether they had 
sinned, or suffered for the sins of others, or if it 
was just a murderous desire to slay on the part of 
the natives, I cannot say. Be that as it may, 
their death was an awful one. For a mate, who 
was absent when the capture took place, followed 
and from cover saw their legs broken and heard 



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A CANNIBAL EPICURE 103 

their screams of agony as they slowly died over 
the cooking fires. I was told that after his 
escape his brain went and that he died a madman, 
and I can easily believe this part of the story if 
the rest be true. 

One evening George asked an old warrior which 
of the flesh foods tickled his palate most. Literally 
translated he answered " fowl — ^fair, pig — good, 
man — incomparably best." That settled, he was 
questioned as to which type of man he preferred — 
white or black, and to our surprise replied, "Native, 
white too salt and taste too much of tobacco." 

We camped on the river bank in a native-built 
Government house raised about eight feet off the 
ground, the walls being round thin poles, the floor 
spht soft-wood slabs, the roof palm-thatched, and 
a covered platform running round the four sides. 
Just in front, the Kumusi, here confined between 
high banks, rushed swiftly by, on the opposite 
shore a meadow of dense kangaroo-grass spread, 
bounded by wooded ranges stretching away to our 
right front. On our left rose Mount Monckton, 
its rugged peak shooting 8,000 feet into a cloud- 
strewn sky. Behind us were the tropical forest, 
and all about us the palm-shelters of our carriers — 
now swelled to 180 with friends and relations, and 
aU fTiU, and happy and natural, and in the main 
as naked and as independent of the tariff as Adam 
and Eve. 

Two of our police, evidently single men, had 



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104 ACROSS PAPUA 

covered their dark mops of hair with lime to dye 
it auburn, and it had just the effect of well put on 
powder. 

After dark, and following a great tooting of 
wooden horns (which means, I understand, " don't 
shoot, we are friends"), people poured in amid a 
welcoming chorus from our men, bearing a pig 
slung on a staff, poles covered with nuts, sugar- 
cane, taro, pumpkins, and all the tropical fruits 
that love sun and shower, and laid the whole — ^the 
pig undermost — ^in a heap before our house. 
Verily this is a land of plenty. This formality 
over. Sergeant Beregi took charge. Everything 
was placed either singly or in little pyramids in 
two rows, and with scant or no bargaining, Beregi 
(who evidently knew local values to half a pipeful) 
marched along throwing his price in tobacco on 
each lot. " Take it or leave it " appeared to be 
his motto, and in every case they took it and 
walked off, to all seeming satisfied. 

The hills looked lovely when at 7.15 Little and 
I crossed the Kumusi in a cage — so called. This 
cage is in reality a round stick to sit on, with two 
ropes above to cling to, and is hauled over the 
water along a single wire rope. Once on the other 
bank we started, Herbert waiting while Monckton 
sorted out his carriers and sent the hangers-on 
about their business. 

Leaving the river, we pushed on for six miles, 
passing over several most picturesque native 



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NATURAL ENGINEERS 105 

suspension bridges. In constructing these, vines 
are used as cables, and trees take the place of 
stone or steel towers on each bank. Some have 
floors of split soft-wood lashed in place with fibre, 
the protecting rails being vines pulled taut. Others 
are aU cane, three or four being stretched across 
and tied in places for foothold, while the sides are 
of an open wicker-rwork. One we crossed had, I 
should say, a span of sixty feet, and the way our 
loaded carriers passed without mishap over its 
swaying xmcertain length, was a lesson in balance 
I shall not readily forget. 

After one and a half miles of roasting grass- 
patch we reached Rocky Creek, to find the bridge 
swept away, so there was nothing for it but to 
await the arrival of the rest of the party. Mean- 
while our two poUce began to cut down trees. In 
a short time up the rest came, and fifteen minutes 
later had thrown across a bridge of logs, three 
feet wide and quite sixty feet long, using rocks 
as rests, and tying the butts together with 
vines. Over this we all, including the 
heavily-laden bearers, marched without accident, 
and as we watched the passage from the 
farther bank I realised how useful such 
self-reliant, natural engineers might be from a 
soldier's standpoint. 

While Herbert was telling me how Monckton 
got all his men and stores safely over the Kumusi, 
with the exception of one of our boxes, dropped 



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106 ACROSS PAPUA 

out of the cage, but somehow rescued, the chain- 
gang, hot and weary, came up and plunged into 
the water ; but one, a sorcerer, stood gazing with 
gloomy eyes on his companions in misfortune, for 
if with, he was in no sense of, creatures he could 
even now terrify with one pass of his manacled 
hands. His presence reminded me of one of Dr. 
Jones' stories. A native who had been employed 
in Burn PhUp's store at Samarai for over two years, 
suddenly went sick. He was sent to the doctor, 
who at once frankly told him he could do no good, 
the case being one of sorcery. Dr. Jones asking 
particulars, he explained that his young wife, by 
means of witchcraft, had put a stone axe, a lot of 
fishing-line, and a cooking pot inside him, and 
that only a sorcerer could possibly get them out. 
While professional pride forbade Jones to admit 
this last statement, he tried to reason him out of 
his weird belief, but without avail. The man 
went away, grew daily worse, and one day disap- 
peared. About a fortnight later the doctor met 
him again, looking fit and well, and after con- 
gratulating him, asked how he was cured. " Oh," 
said the native, "it was just as I told you. I 
went to the village sorcerer, and he took an axe, 
a broken pot, and a lot of twine out of my side, 
and now I am as well as ever I was." This story 
is interesting, as showing how futile intercourse 
with white men often is to kUl old beliefs, and 
also the blind faith of the patient, which enabled 



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WADING RIVERS 107 

the sorcerer to make him beheve he actually 
took the articles out through his side. 

The scene here was exquisite, the water to all 
appearance rushing out of shadow-land right into 
the heart of a steep, wooded hill. At noon we 
again started, meeting stream after stream, clear as 
crystal, and pure as the source whence they came. 
How the two police, who carried us shoulder high 
over some of them, kept their feet among the 
stones that always strew their bottoms I cannot 
explain ; I only remember with gratitude that they 
always did. Here and there we met lengths of 
corduroy, with rickety, if artistic, native bridges, 
then we reached a stream both wide and rapid over 
which George insisted on carrying me. Taking me 
on his back and holding a policeman by each 
hand, he tramped across breast high and over 
awful boulders without a slip or stagger. When 
we got to the bank the dear old chap told me in an 
apologetic tone that " he was fairly strong in the 
seventies." 

Soon after, we had to take to the bed of a gorge, 
clinging by roots to its sides, the foothold being 
often a matter of inches, then, on crossing the 
slippery head of a beautiful waterfall, sheer in 
front of us rose " The Divide." 

It was only about 250 feet high, but so nearly 
perpendicular that a slip meant a roU half-way to 
the bottom, and after the level country the climb 
landed me at the top just a breathless bit of wet 



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108 ACROSS PAPUA 

rag ; and yet our carriers went up and down it for 
water as coolly as if it had been a patent lift. 
Before the rain set in we got from its summit our 
first panoramic view of the country we had so far 
left behind. 

During the day we had walked over a " purple 
patch " or so, not long dry as years are counted. 
On one, an officer coming up the track had chanced 
upon a band of natives eating their prisoners by 
the wayside, and had shot a number of them. On 
another, the raiders had burnt the village of the 
victims. 



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CHAPTER VIII. 

THE YODDA FIELDS AND KOKODA. 

The Mambare — Kokoda — The Yodda — A Cloae Call — The Grim 
Tragedy of it All — God's Acre — Men we Met — The Field— A Clean 
Up — Future Possibilities — Relics of an Older Bace — We Leave the 
Yodda— We Part with Little — Kokoda once more — The Station 
Buildings — Early Morning Parade — Three Attributes of a Good Soldier 
— Stories of the A.N.C. — A Man who should be Laid by the Heels 
— A Dance under the Stars — A Garden of Plenty — A Land of Untold 
Possibilities — A Splendid Lot — The Route is Chosen — The Sorrows of 
a Photographer. 

Leaving the Divide at 6.40 next morning we met 
some rough walking over roots and sidehngs, and 
as usual constantly crossed streams, some spanned 
by a single slippery log, others by wicker-work sus- 
pension bridges, and eventually touched the 
Mambare, a broad and lovely river running through 
and over huge pebbles, its water clear as glass. 
For a time we hugged its right bank, then tiirning 
into a native garden, once 300 acres of tropical 
plenty, now, thanks either to native habit or white 
intrusion — I am not clear which — a tangled and 
overgrown waste, we saw above us the buildings 
of Kokoda, the farthest inland Government Station 
in Papua. Here the police, under Mr, Naylor, 
Assistant Resident Magistrate, turned out and 
came to attention in great style. Here also we got 
a hot shower, and an afternoon of rest. That 
night I thought I had fever, but it proved to be a 
case of mistaken identity, poor Monckton being 



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110 ACROSS PAPUA 

the victim, so we left him to fix up for tackling the 
mountains, and started at eight next morning for 
the Yodda, Mr. Naylor taking charge for the trip. 
Entering the forest we picked up the Buna- Yodda 
Road, and keeping the mountains on our left again 
met, beautiful as before, and ever fed by lesser 
tributaries, the Mambare flowing swiftly to the 
sea. 

Passing over logs, some seventy feet long, we 
went through a deserted village. Here a magistrate, 
named Walker, once nearly lost his life, for he was 
actually seized, but thanks to great presence of 
mind and pluck, managed to puU his revolver 
behind his back, and so shot the native who was 
holding him. 

The road here was hedged with plants, just bits 
plucked off the parent bushes, and stuck in by 
carriers as they went by, for flowers are, in a 
sense, a passion with these people. Crossing over 
a ravine on a three-logged bridge, and later a 
river, we halted, and I again realised how good a 
fruit paw paw was, and how refreshing to the 
weary soul. 

Resuming our march we struck some worked-out 
groimd, then passed Mr. Rockfort's sluicing claim 
and native house, and scrambling on over old 
races, roots, and along a narrow-topped ridge, 
dropped down on two stores and — ^nothing more. 
Yet this was one of our objectives, the Yodda 
Goldfield. Never was a spot more unlike the 



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GOD'S ACRE 111 

diggings of song and story, and drama, and yet to 
reach it men have left love and home, and certain 
work and sure safety, have died in fever swamps 
amid unknown mountains, by slow starvation, by 
swift and treacherous spear and club ; and many 
have gone from it broken in pocket and in health, 
while stiU a remnant remain paying in strength 
and hard won gold for the dubious privilege of 
doubtful gain and certain exile from all that most 
men prize. 

So in very truth the dimly-remembered cradle- 
songs of dead or distant mothers, the stories of 
high hopes that died on river beaches, or were 
buried deep in barren gulches, the dramas of 
ruined lives and lonely deaths all have their part 
and place in the short unknown but deeply tragic 
history of those who have sought "for the 
immortal fire Prometheus stole from Heaven," on 
the Mambare, the Gira, and the Yodda fields. 

We pitched our camp in a potato patch on the 
edge of the forest, facing the vaUey and the ranges; 
behind, and higher up the slope, rest the bodied of 
those so fortimate as to find a friendly hand to 
cover their poor bones. Some little time before our 
coming Bishop Stone- Wigg, with kindly thought, 
held a service in this acre, forgotten by aU but 
God and an odd old mate or so, at which the 
miners attended, then when he had finished, a 
digger, full of whisky and gratitude, rose and 
solemnly moved a vote of thanks to him. Poor 



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112 ACROSS PAPUA 

fellows all, so far it has been a hopeless life, with 
only the squalid joy of an occasional carouse for 
most, with certain mental rot for all. 

The miners we met were in the main men of 
considerable personality, and several were well 
educated, one having held a good social position 
in Australia before he took up Ufe in Papua; 
another was a rector's son, and a gentleman stiU, 
but he told me he had now no one in the old 
country who wanted him, and so he meant to live 
and die where he was. 

Most of the claims are some distance from the 
stores, and scattered at that. Little's being ten 
miles away, which all says much for the diggers' 
recklessness or the natives' peacefulness — probably 
a good deal for both. So far as I could learn, the 
average miner takes no precautions, often going 
to his work and leaving his gun to look after itself 
and his hut. If this be so, I hold that it is alike 
foolish from a personal standpoint and unfair to 
the native, as putting an unnecessary temptation 
in his way. Still, the fact that aU this is possible 
proves to my mind that a big majority of the 
diggers treat the natives fairly, and their women 
with respect. 

We went into the valley and saw a " cleaning up," 
the digger washing three dishes, but only getting 
fair colours. The " boys," of whom men employ 
from four or five to thirty or forty, according to 
their means or needs, do all the manual labour. 



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FUTURE POSSIBILITIES 113 

the digger attending to the " clean up," which, I 
understand, took place on an average once a fort- 
night. So far as I could see they just sluice 
everything on a face, piling the big boulders 
out of the way, and putting the rest through 
primitive boxes. 

We were told that men, sometimes in spite of high 
prices, cleared from £500 to £1,000 as the result 
of a year's work, but even so, I doubt if the 
Yodda has a future as a poor man's diggings 
under present conditions. Fresh patches may be 
discovered, but if it is to take its place as a 
permanent field, capital — either Government or 
private — must be forthcoming. So far the true 
bottom has not been struck, and to sink through 
the conglomerate in search of it means money. 
No reef has yet been discovered, yet the gold 
must come from one. Mr. Monckton reports that 
he saw well defined reefs on the faces of Mount 
Albert Edward — why not in other and even nearer 
ranges — ^but no ordinary digger could bear the 
cost of such prospecting. Hydraulic sluicing will 
yet, I believe, pay, and pa/ well, but not until a 
practicable mule-road makes possible the carriage 
of machinery to, and cheapens the necessaries of 
life on, the field. Some day I believe one or aU of 
these things may happen, and if so I hope the 
plucky men who have lived on hope so long will 
stUl be there to reap their just reward. 

Though they have not in the Yodda unearthed 



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114 ACROSS PAPUA 

all the gold one wishes them, they have brought to 
light evidence of the existence of an earlier and more 
developed race, for twelve feet down in the wash, 
stone-bowls, round, shallow, and with a simple 
but clearly defined pattern cut on the rim, have 
been discovered. In other parts the stone-heads of 
cassowaries have been found, used by the present 
natives as charms to protect their gardens from 
harm, but about which these people really know 
nothing. In these also the workmanship evidences 
a higher skiU than is displayed by the Papuan, 
while in digging into some mounds in the midst 
of a village in Collingwood Bay, broken pottery 
was unearthed, redder in colour, harder in texture, 
and bearing a design totally superior to any made 
by the natives of to-day. All this points to finds 
of deep historic value, being not only possible but 
inevitable in this most interesting but Httle known 
island. 

Saying good-bye to our digger friends, who all 
wished us good luck in our attempt to march 
from " sea to sea," both on our own account and 
also, as one put it, "because if we reached Port 
Moresby in good health we would have established 
a record," we made a start a little after six, mists 
rising in white shafts and rolling billows off the 
hills that keep watch and ward over the valley. 

At the foot of the ridge we parted with Little, 
our companion of many days, and my particular 
comrade on the march, for all through we had 



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A GOLD SEEKER'S RUSH 115 

walked together, and a right good mate he had 
been. Ever a speculator and a born gold seeker, 
more I feel sure for the sake of adventure than for 
mere sordid lust of gain, he was off to try his 
fortune on the Waria, a "rush " then in all men's 
mouths. The following extract from a letter since 
received from him tells of some novel personal 
experiences, and one more " duffer." He says : — 
" Monckton and I started for the Waria, and had 
a very rough trip, having to do things crossing 
rivers on native bridges that would have drawn a 
crowd in Sydney willing to pay to see us perform. 
We got on well with the natives, who were aU 
bow-and-arrow men, the country passed through 
being very thickly populated. All their houses 
were fuU of skeletons, whether of friends or 
enemies I could not say, as we could not talk to 
them. They also, unlike any other natives I have 
met in Papua, had an idea of flower gardens round 
their houses. The plants were chiefly crotons 
arranged in nice order. After three months' 
wandering I had to leave. There is gold, but we 
found nothing payable, at least not payable after 
reckoning distance from the coast and consequent 
ruinous cost of living. Something may be found 
richer by the eight men remaining, but I don't 
think it will ever support many." 

Kokoda is a most radiant spot, set high on the 
edge of a small plateau. At the rear and right 
virgin forests fence it about, in front, in a basin, 

i2 



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116 ACROSS PAPUA 

grow all things that tell of shade — great plantain 
fronds, broad and spacious as green sails, and 
many another plant with leaves of varied hue and 
shape, and all gigantic. About this basin dwell 
trees tall and stately, courted of lovely parasites. 
Near by the water flows, and then the mountains 
rise fold on fold till Mount Victoria pierces the 
sky at 12,000 feet. To see the mists rising out of 
their ravines, rolling athwart their slopes, and 
breaking into fleecy fragments against their top- 
most peaks, is to stand with God and gaze with 
humbled eyes upon the work of His Omnipotent 
hands. 

The house is native, rambling and picturesque, 
and the garden fuU of aU rich tones of colour. 
There are really three houses built on piles, and 
connected by covered passages, balconies running 
round all, and quaint porches rising over the steps 
that lead down into the garden, the whole being 
evolved from sago bark, palm leaves, and native 
wood, bound together with cane and loya vine. 

The morning after our arrival I was awakened 
by the sound of sharp, familiar words of command, 
and looking out saw Mr. Naylor putting the 
Armed Native ConstabulS.ry through some simple 
movements in the Barrack Square, and a smart 
and soldierly lot they looked in their dark blue 
jumpers, low cut at the neck and short in the 
sleeves, with red braiding, their sulas held in 
position by a black bayonet belt, a full bandolier 



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FINE FEATHERS: FINE BIRDS 117 

over the shoulder, 0-303 carbines in their hands, and 
neat forage caps (with the bird-of-paradise badge) 
cocked jauntily on the side of their crisp black 
heads. These caps have been abolished on the 
score of economy, and, like their white brethren 
in arms, the Armed Native Constabulary have 
bitterly resented being robbed of their plumes. 
I was told the Northern detachment were about 
the only ones who now possessed them, and that 
they cherish them, fondly carrying them in safe 
places, and only sporting them when meeting a 
bareheaded squad. Personally I think the saving 
alike both paltry and foolish, for fine feathers 
make fine birds, be they white or black. 

After Naylor (who by-the-way had seen service 
in South Africa with one of the Victorian con- 
tingents and showed all the snap of a smart officer) 
had shaken them up, a Kawai sergeant drilled 
them, also by English words of command. Doubt- 
less his vocabulary was strictly limited, still it was 
a beginning capable, I feel sure, of expansion if 
only this question is seriously and methodically 
faced by officials. The work done was in the main 
excellent, and I was told, and quite believe, that 
these fellows are proud of their uniform, obedient 
to discipline, and keen fighters. 

Monckton told me a story of one of them worth 
repeating. During an expedition behind the 
Hydrographers he got into a scrap, and his sergeant 
drew his attention to a man who had grounded 



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118 ACROSS PAPUA 

his carbine. Asked why, he said his relations were 
among the attacking party, so as a matter of 
precaution Monckton ordered the sergeant to take 
charge of his carbine, and in the press of the fight 
forgot all about him untU matters, becoming 
really critical, he saw him at his side firing away 
with the best. " I thought you wouldn't risk 
kUHng your people," said Monckton. " Neither I 
would," replied the poHceman, "if you could have 
beaten them off without me, but now that they 
may kill you it becomes a totally different affair," 
and went on shooting as if nothing had happened. 
On another occasion during a fight a native coming 
on a pohceman whose carbine had choked, thrust 
a spear clean through his right arm, but like a 
flash the latter jumped back, drew it out with his 
left, and drove it through his enemy's chest. 
Indeed, it appears impossible to kill or cripple 
these men by ordinary methods, for we had with 
us one fellow who not so long before walked into 
a hidden spear trap, a hole about five feet deep in 
which were a number of spears, point up ; while 
another had his head aU dinted from the blows of 
an axe wielded by a prisoner named O'Brien when 
escaping from Kokoda gaol. StiU both men were 
as good as new. 

The case of this man O'Brien is interesting as 
showing how a mistake on the part of a keen, but 
at the time somewhat inexperienced, officer aroused 
a certain feeling of sympathy in the minds of 



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A DANCE UNDER THE STARS 119 

decent men totally unwarranted so far as this 
dangerous criminal was concerned, and even under 
the circumstances only to be accounted for as the 
outcome of a somewhat quixotic sense of abstract 
justice. Why no serious attempt has been made 
to bring this man to trial is a question the 
authorities should be asked alike in the interests 
of the magistrate, the men, and the upholding of 
justice and order in a country dependent for its 
future peace on a strict observance of both the 
one and the other. 

At night some hundreds of natives, and the 
Armed Native Constabulary all decked for the 
occasion, danced in the square to the sound 
of drum and swelling chorus. Out of the dark- 
ness they came in phalanxes, each dusky band 
moving in a figure of its own. The ratthng of 
spears struck on the ground, and the guttural cries 
of the dancers, the booming drums, and weird, 
uncanny chants rose into the stiU, cloudless 
night from out a setting of tropical forest, and 
above a scene of primal abandon. I was told 
these men dance on for hours, once the ecstasy of 
motion floods their brain, and indeed, as I watched, 
I could see the same spirit that moves the Dervish 
to whirl until he sinks to earth with froth-dyed 
lips, shining out of the eyes of some of them. 

Everythiag about Kokoda, police barracks, 
married men's quarters, garden, and drill yard, 
was alike as clean and well ordered as the strictest 



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120 ACROSS PAPUA 

quartermaster could wish for, and yet it was aU 
so native as to blend with, rather than show as an 
excrescence amid, its surroundings. Situated at 
the foot of the main range and 1,000 feet above 
sea level, the climate is, from a tropical stand- 
point, good, while the plateau is rich almost 
beyond behef. As an illustration, in the station 
garden (thirty acres being under cultivation) there 
grew taro, yams, sweet-potatoes, bananas (I saw 
fifteen dozen in one bunch), Indian corn, cocoa- 
nuts, betel-nuts, paw paws, granadillas, pine- 
apples, chillies, oranges, lemons, English cabbages, 
carrots, parsnips, radishes, lettuces, French beans, 
melons, and swede turnips. 

Cocoa should do well, but coffee would do better 
on sloping lands, while all the surrounding tribes 
grow sugar, though I was told it flourished best 
on the upland slopes. During the twelve months 
preceding our arrival, an average of about fifty 
police, prisoners, and carriers were fed from the 
produce of an average area of twenty acres under 
cultivation for that period. The character of the 
soil is a rich, dark, sandy loam, and I was told 
that 1200 acres on the plateau would soon be 
declared Crown lands, and that 160 square miles 
additional had been gazetted as such, starting 
from Kokoda and extending as far as McLaughlin's 
Greek, twelve miles north of the Yodda field. 

From Kokoda right back to Buna Bay, the 
country is magnificently watered, level, and heavily 



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UNTOLD POSSIBILITIES 121 

timbered, and judging from the quantities of cane, 
vegetables, and fruit brought in by the natives all 
along the route, must be rich. With the exception 
of the Kumusi River, and even this can be crossed 
at a ford a short distance from the wire bridge, 
and the Divide, which could be made practicable 
for pack traffic at a comparatively small cost, the 
present track is to-day possible for horses and 
mules during the dry season. So there are no 
insurmountable natural obstacles in the path of 
development from the sea to Kokoda, when the 
right men choose to tread it. 

During the afternoon we saw 260 carriers lined 
up for inspection, and a splendid lot they were. 

That night Monckton decided to abandon the 
route over the Gap and to try a new one just 
discovered by Mr. Bruce, which a yoimg fellow 
who had come with the Commandant declared to 
be, if steeper, and attaining to a greater altitude, 
still more direct. He mentioned incidentally that 
we should have to walk along the edge of a 2,000 
foot precipice for a hundred yards or so, but after 
all a precipice more or less does not count for 
much when crossing the roof of Papua. 

Later I nearly broke my neck, for mooning along 
with a lamp I was awakened to the enormity of 
my offence by a yell from George, and a glow of 
red light, and hurriedly trying to run down some 
steps soaked with rain, slipped and landed at the 
bottom with two barked shins. Poor Herbert was 



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122 ACROSS PAPUA 

trying to remove plates in an improvised dark 
room with George on guard to scare away natives 
and other idiots with lights. 

What the Judge suffered in the cause of photo- 
graphy no man save himself knoweth ; what he 
said is fortunately hushed for ever in the forests of 
Papua. For the first part of our walk the camera 
was never up when wanted, then Monckton gave it 
to a policeman who just haunted Herbert night 
and day. He tried the gaol, and the prisoners lit 
matches ; the house, and I nearly spoilt the whole 
set, but aU these experiences paled before the 
operation of changing plates on the march, when 
he had to block the ends of his fly, crawl under a 
blanket, and eventually emerge half smothered 
and streaming with perspiration, each falling drop 
representing tissue he grudged to lose, which 
reminds me that I was weighed at the Yodda and 
turned the scale at II st. 4 lb., having lost 12 lb. 
since Buna Bay. 



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CHAPTER IX. 

ACEOSS THE MAIN RANGE. 

The Costume of Experieuee — Farewell Kokoda — We Leave the Last 
Outpost Behind — We Climb the Mountain's Face — A Last Look at 
Kokoda — Leeches and Scrub-Itch — At the 4,272 feet Level — Gettiag 
Down — The Ascent of the Main Range — The Land of Palms and Moss 
—The Land of GHttering Silence— We Fall 1,000 feet— Where 
Perchance the Fairies Dance — The Carriers' Task — The Frozen Carriers 
— We ascend once more — 8,690 feet above the Sea — A Vision 
Splendid — Another Mountain Camp— The Gap— Orchids — A Sword of 
Water — Two Carriers go Sick — Serigina — Only one more Bill — Pitching 
Camp under Difficulties — ^Bruce answers our Shots — A few Earnest, 
Simple Words — ^Kagi — -The Commandant— The Future Road — HeNever 
Expected to See Us — Tea and Whisky — Albert Edward — The King of 
the Range — Beregi — -Calm, Cold, and Silent — In the Mist Sea — ^We Lose 
our old Escort and Carriers — Farewell to Monckton. 

As we stood ready to leave Kokoda our marching 
kit gave evidence of experience gained since we 
went over the side of the Merrie England. 
Herbert's EngHsh shooting boots had given place 
to bluchers, while since a day out from Buna Bay 
I had discarded putties as a weariness of the flesh, 
and now instead tucked the ends of a pair of light 
loose trousers into my socks, these with either a 
digger's flannel or a Jaeger undershirt, and stout 
boots and a topi are all a man wants for this class 
of work in Papua. The great secret of comfort in 
a clammy climate being freedom for legs and arms, 
and for health, flannel next the chest, and a com- 
plete change on getting into camp, A policeman 
now carried my revolver and water-bottle, for in 



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124 ACROSS PAPUA 

a land like this even a grasshopper would, become 
a burden. 

At nine o'clock on October 26th we left lovely 
Kokoda, passing through an avenue half a mile 
long, plantains, and taro growing on each side, 
and plants with radiant leaves lining the broad 
straight road. Then leaving it, and parting with 
cut tracks for good and aU, we put the last out- 
post of the white man behind our backs, and 
plunging into the virgin forest, scrambled over 
roots and logs and along creeks for about an hour — 
and then up the mountain's face. With breathers 
every 100 feet or so up we went getting foothold 
as best we could, now dropping for a little, but 
only to rise again. At noon we halted on a steep 
slope, and facing about saw Mount Lamington, and 
all the way we had travelled from the sea spread 
out before us. We were now 3,200 feet above sea- 
level, and had risen 2,200 above Kokoda, Starting 
again we dropped for a while, and creeping along 
some nervy places reached camp without mishap 
ahead of the rain. Striking camp at 7.45 next 
morning we clambered over rocks and trees and 
along the edge of things till we reached a village 
perched above the valley. 

Later we had a great view of the Yodda valley 
with Kokoda showing dimly, and the clouds 
rolling up the sides of the distant ranges, and then 
we started on a wild downward career, descending 
by gripping roots, rocks, and saplings, with every 



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Right— Col. Mackay. Centre— Mr. Mosokton. Left— Mr. Justice Herbeet. 



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LEECHES AND SCRUB-ITCH 125 
now and then a slide ; while in places the drop was 
almost sheer. At the bottom we came on a 
rushing torrent fed by a waterfall that shot out of 
a wooded mountain and plunged down in a stream 
of living light. Round us rose great walls of hills, 
the mist clinging to their rugged fronts, while at 
our feet the foaming water flowed on over the 
rocks to bury itself again in the clefts of the 
ranges. 

We were now in the region of leeches and scrub- 
itch, the former rising in the pad till they stood 
half erect, and fastening on to boots or the natives' 
legs as we walked ; while touching a bush 
frequently resulted in a leech hanging to a finger. 
They crawled through any opening in a boot, and if 
putties are not well rolled, or trousers not tucked 
into socks, one was apt to find blood in one's boots 
on reaching camp. The best method to dodge them 
is to send the carriers on ahead, and I have often 
seen ours scraping them off their legs with their 
long knives as they marched along. 

Of itch, thank Heaven, we had small experience, 
but men have been nearly, if not quite, driven mad 
with it in parts of Papua. 

Crossing the river on four wet and swaying poles 
we immediately began a climb as steep as our 
descent had been, the process now being reversed in 
that we pulled ourselves up instead of letting our- 
selves down. Reaching the top of the gorge we 
began to pitch camp on the 4,272 feet level, but the 



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126 ACROSS PAPUA 

rain beat us. Just as everything was fixed, they 
brought in a carrier who had slipped and fallen 
backward, his load on top of him. His liver was 
injured, and next day he had to go back, my only 
wonder being that he was not killed outright. 

Starting at 7.15 we (clinging to roots) almost at 
once dived down into a ravine, and crossing a 
rushing torrent climbed up a face like the side of 
a house where a slip meant bruises if not breaks. 
Reaching the top, winded but intact, we began to 
ascend a spur of the main range, and after a solid 
climb of four hours, with frequent breathers, — the 
perspiration falling off hands and face in great 
drops — we passed into a new world. First the 
" Brocken " and then the " Fairy King's Domain." 
Here grew pandanus palms, and gradually as we 
rose the trees became covered in moss until it 
hung in festoons from every limb, and crowned 
with great coronets of sparkling gems and living 
green each leafless branch. Then aU the prone 
logs became moss-grown couches, while under foot 
a carpet of springy verdure lay so thickly spread 
that it bore our weight, while we could thrust our 
staffs down several feet through the net-work of 
leaves and roots on which it lay. 

As we moved on in silent wonderment, each 
stem we grasped was soft and cold, while when 
the sun broke through the mists the whole magic 
forest glittered with millions of crystal drops. So 
ever upward we made our way above cloud and 



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AT OWEN STAJ^LBY RANGE, 8,301 FEET. 



[126 



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A SYMPHONY IN GREEN 127 

mist alike, and entered the world of the nature 
spirits — cold, silent, lifeless, but supremely beauti- 
ivl in its chaste contours and immeasurable 
breadth of vision — ^not after the fashion of the 
flesh, but rather of a great and snow-white soul. 
Then quickly we fell 1,000 feet, and camped in a 
wondrous spot in the bosom of the hiUs where two 
streams met. Here we had barely space to pitch 
our flys, the usual difficulty in these ranges, where 
flat surfaces are few and far between. 

Above us the slender tree stems rose, festooned 
and clad as for the festival of some Titanic race, 
with garlands and caskets of moss, a radiant 
symphony in green, while beneath our feet the 
wedded streams flowed on through fronded ferns, 
and giant-leaved white and pink begonias. Here, 
perchance, the fairies driven by unbehef, and 
man's strange fear, from their old-world greens, 
stiU danced on moon-lit nights to the music of the 
rippling water, for it had all the uncanny loveli- 
ness of "the Httle people's" storied land. 

After a time the carriers began to struggle round 
a bend and down the slippery, awful hill. How, 
laden as they were, they ever got to the bottom, 
save on their heads, I know not. I doubt if the 
depths of endurance possible to the best Papuan 
carriers have ever been plumbed, for they have 
been known to keep up with the Armed Native 
Constabulary during a pursuit through the hills. 

We were aU soaked in perspiration on arrival, 



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128 ACROSS PAPUA 

but after a hot douclie were glad to pile on all the 
clothes we possessed, and the night closed in 
bitterly cold and wet. I slept in socks, under- 
clothes, trousers, pyjamas, flannel shirt, "sweater," 
a cap, two pairs of blankets, and an overcoat, and 
stiU was not too warm. God only knows what 
the poor carriers suffered, for burning wood was 
so scarce and wet that some of their poles had to 
be sacrificed, and they were practically nude to a 
man. Huddled in heaps, they must have had a 
fearful time. In the morning some of them 
refused to go on, pleading that they would die, 
while to add to our anxiety Monckton was bad 
with fever. However, he was as plucky as they 
are made, and thanks to him we got away at eight, 
and at once, by aid of roots and saplings, began a 
fresh climb. Ever ascending — with an occasional 
level patch to cheer us on — we twisted among the 
moss-clad trees, and passed under lichen-hung 
arches, the ridge at times being so sharp that a 
swerve of a few feet either way would have toppled 
us over the edge and down the steep, unthinkable 
slope. 

Then the trees grew more gnarled, the mosses 
richer, the silence one that could be felt — and at 
last we stood on one of the summits of the 
Owen Stanley Range, 8,690 feet above the sea, 
and out beyond the intervening valleys we 
caught ghmpses of great distances, and saw toothed 
peaks, and broad plains, above and beneath the 



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A VISION SPLENDID 129 

clouds, for part of Papua lay stretched at our feet, 
and part rose in splendid isolation sheer through 
the mists that floated far above our heads. 

Here stood the palace of the mountain king, 
and the sun breaking through his hoary rafters, 
all its dim corridors grew fuU of elfin light, while 
wondrous soft tones of colour tinted each sparkling 
column, caressed each moss-grown couch, and 
flushed with mellow glory all the rare tapestry 
hung within its fairy aisles. But time was pressing, 
so down we dropped by perilous sidelings, and 
sheer set paths, leaving the kingdom of mystery 
and sUence and beauty behind, but catching rare 
glimpses of mountain peaks and great ravines, and 
spreading valleys as we came. 

That night we camped weU down the main range 
at an altitude of 6,786 feet, and consequently had 
a chilly time, but the wood was good, so the 
carriers could fight the cold and were happy. 
Monckton, too, was better, and so things looked 
promising for a good day to Kagi. But Kagi was 
further than we reckoned, and our guide was 
either a liar, or had woefully, if flatteringly, over- 
rated my walking powers when he told us "it was 
five hours away." 

Breakfast over, the usual chmb began, and 
landed us on the summit of a narrow ridge which 
had been burnt by natives. From here we got a 
grand view of the mountains we had come over — 
and away to our left saw, over the shoulder of a 



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130 ACROSS PAPUA 

spur (down which ran an older track), the original 
Gap. Then down once more we went, sometimes 
along narrow crests, or clinging to their sides, 
then dropping sheer by aid of roots till we came 
upon two torrents, meeting above a waterfall — a 
lovely gorge upon each side. Here we felled a tree 
covered with orchids, and added them to one we 
had picked at 8,000 feet. 

Scrambling up a watercourse we faced a steep 
grass hill bare of timber, and radiating lintempered 
heat. Crawling up, we faced about and got a 
magnificent view of the ranges, a great peak 
piercing the clouds on our right, on our left long 
chains fading into dim distances, and in our front 
a great sword of water leaping out of the timber 
and piercing it again half-way down the mountain 
side. Crossing the crest, down we tramped 
through deserted native gardens, dodging old 
spear traps, and skirting the edge of a neck-or- 
nothing ravine, till hand-over-hand we landed in 
a dehghtful basin fed by a singing stream. 

Starting again at two, word came from the rear 
that two of the carriers were dying, so Monckton 
asked us to push on with the guide to Kagi — said 
by that optimist to be over the next hiU — whUe 
he attended to his men. 

Having climbed about 2,000 feet and passed 
through gardens of taro, yams, and maize, we 
reached the village of Serigina, clean, and with a 
splendid outlook over the way we had come ; and 



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AT OWEN STANLEY RANGE, 8,690 FEET, [131 



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AN IKFAMOUS GUIDE 131 

gazing back at the piled-up peaks I registered a 
mental vow never to be so fooUsh again. The 
women here were taU and well-built, but the chief, 
a plausible, shop-walker type of savage in a dirty 
shirt, filled me with a dislike further acquaintance 
only intensified. I later found he was one of 
those who, not long before, had raided a village 
within eighteen miles of Port Moresby, killing all, 
both men and women, after ravishing the latter. 
I fancy he was used as a sort of informer. Per- 
sonally, I regret that expediency so often permits 
such men to live. 

When not far from the village we saw Monckton 
entering it, and as he shouted to us to go on, and 
as our infamous guide still informed us that we 
had only one more hill to cross, on we went, over 
another 2,000 feet of earth, followed by a whole 
series, tiU six o'clock and darkness arrived 
simultaneously. 

As our guide when questioned as to the where- 
abouts of Kagi now helplessly pointed in two 
diametrically opposite directions, we decided to 
halt in a basin beside a stream, and presently up 
came Monckton with the sick men and a few 
police. Then the fun began — darkness, no lamps 
up, no flys, and a camp to pitch, with the rain, 
which for the first time during our trip had so far 
held off, momentarily expected. But our police 
were wonders, and by the time the moon rose the 

fly poles were cut and up, and things generally 

k2 



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132 ACROSS PAPUA 

straightening out. Meanwhile George had foTUid 
some cocoa, but no sugar ; anyway it w^as a 
Godsend, as we were still in our wet things, and 
chilled to the bone. Monckton then began to fire, 
in the hope of locating our missing carriers, and 
got an answering volley from Bruce' s camp, but 
no response from the faithful Sergeant Beregi, who 
had been left to bring them along. Fears that 
they had missed the right spur now arose, and 
Monckton started back into the night to look for 
them. At 10.30 he returned, and we knew of his 
coming by some earnest, simple words he let drop 
as he picked himself up out of the bottom of the 
creek ; soon after the carriers (who despite Beregi 
had stayed to feed at the village) arrived. Then 
we got food, our flys, and a change, and so all 
ended well. For the first and only time it did not 
rain at all. Had it done so we should have been 
in a bad way, for we had been marching from 
7.45 a.m. to 6 p.m., and were dog-tired and 
wet through with perspiration, having climbed 
7,500 feet in crossing three ranges alone, to say 
nothing of the ordinary everlasting up and down. 

In the morning one of Bruce's men came in, and 
leaving at 7.40 we reached Kagi at 9.30, after 
crossing creeks, clambering over logs and roots, 
toiling up wooded slopes and through native 
gardens, with a long hot grass hill for the last 
lap. 

Commandant Bruce, who was a veritable son of 



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THE FUTURE ROAD 133 

Anak, brought his men to attention, and I took 
an excellent salute as we marched in. 

The camp was pitched on a high plateau com- 
pletely fenced in by mountains, save where one 
long valley wound through the encirchng hills 
towards Port Moresby. Some day the road con- 
necting Kagi with the capital will foUow this route; 
the engineering difficulties at any rate as regards 
mule traffic being comparatively slight ; mean- 
while the native path leads up and down and 
along the crest of the ranges partly because the 
Papuan has no use for easy grades, principally for 
commissariat reasons, the villages being, as a rule, 
built on high ground. 

Bruce had been here some months quieting the 
district, and had been marking time waiting our 
arrival, as in the event of that happening he was 
to relieve Monckton and escort us to Port Moresby. 
He frankly admitted that he never expected to see 
us, and so was most agreeably disappointed when 
we turned up fit and well and on time. Warned 
by our firing of the night before that we were 
approaching, he had done everything possible for 
our comfort, so we walked in to find a bush break 
erected, and all our fly poles up — ^and lighting our 
pipes we looked towards the sea, the Astrolabe 
Range showing dimly against a misty sky. 

We had lost Little at the Yodda, and now the 
time had come to part with Monckton. At Buna 
Bay he had lent me his aluminium water bottle. 



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134 ACROSS PAPUA 

which since had been filled with tea each morning, 
a sip of it now and then being alike a comfort and 
a stimulant to me during the stiffest climb. I 
know that many people consider tea is a poison. 
Personally I can only say I have used it as a daUy 
drink from Beira to Capetown ; over 8,000 miles of 
India ; and from sea to sea in Papua with such 
good results that I would never dream of drinking 
anything else in a tropical country, or when 
engaged on work that demanded constant and 
severe exertion. Whatever may be said for or 
against tea, one thing is beyond aU possibility of 
denial — alcohol is the very worst drink a man 
can indulge in in Papua. It is directly responsible 
for more breakdowns than aU the diseases put 
together, and indirectly accounts for an enormous 
percentage of malarial deaths and recurrences. 
Sir William McGregor, a medical man of great 
tropical experience, as a result of personal observa- 
tion among missionaries and others, says " even 
the man that is temperate does not endure hard- 
ship or keep his health so long or so well as the 
total abstainer. What happens in the case of the 
drunkard must, I take it, be self-evident." The 
natives who are practically universally free from 
alcoholic craving, call aU Hquor " siUy white men's 
medicine." As regards Papua they coiild not give 
it a better name. 

I had become quite fond of Monckton's bottle, 
and so was more than pleased when he asked me 



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THE KING OF THE RANGE 135 

to keep it in memory of our trip. Indeed it was 
no common or parochial flask, for it had been with 
him when he climbed Momit Albert Edward, and 
so stood nearer the sky than any man before him 
in Papua. 

During our march he told me many an 
interesting tale of his wanderings on that 
mysterious hill — how once the mists came racing 
after them as they were flying back to camp and 
safety, and how in the dim light they halted on 
the rim and verge of swift death, the mist rising 
above the brink of a precipice at their very feet. 
How in the heart of the mountain 10,000 to 12,000 
feet above the sea he came on huge hunting lodges 
of the natives ; and how one of his police walking 
alone met an animal described by him as a 
great pig, and became so terrified by the abnormal 
proportions of this new, yet ancient, relic of primal 
ages that aU strength left him, and he would have 
miserably perished in the freezing night had not 
Oya, son of Bushimi, chanced upon him and 
hammered life and strength into him once more. 
But he did not hammer the vision out of his eyes, 
for next day he took Monckton to the spot and 
there sure enough were fresh rootings, and the 
niarks of cloven hoof -prints. So from that day the 
policeman has been known among his comrades as 
" Ogi of pig fame." 

No snow crowns this king of all the range, but 
its heart is of ice and its breath freezes the marrow 



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136 ACROSS PAPUA 

in men's bones, and from its summit Monckton 
saw a land of forests, and plains, and lakes, and 
tumbled peaks, and winding from behind Mount 
Yule a track leading towards the Waria. He told 
me he was going to try to get back that way from 
the river to the sea. Since, I have been told, he 
did, wallowing for days in morasses and deadly 
swamps. 

One of our escort I had grown to admire was 
Beregi, a non-com. above price, and when we were 
discussing the absolutely hopeless condition of 
Kokoda if ever seriously attacked, Monckton told 
me of another station now abandoned, but which 
then stood, cut off from water in the middle of a 
high grass patch. Here he and Beregi came, and 
he asked his sergeant if he could explain why the 
former resident magistrate had chosen such a 
death-trap of a position. Gazing round, Beregi 
shook his head, and then summed up the whole 
situation thus, " He must have been mad, even 
unto death." 

Now that the main range lay behind, and we 
had practically a whole day in which to rest, I 
remembered being struck by the absence of stone 
on the highest ridges, and the extreme narrowness 
of their root-strewn, moss-carpeted crests. How 
also, as we approached the higher altitudes, lichen 
and moss gradually enveloped the timber until 
they covered limbs and leaves alike, but what 
impressed me most was the serene calm that 



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IN THE MIST SEA 137 

reigned over all, for I heard no crash of fierce or 
fearful animal, no sound of human voice, no song 
of radiant bird in all that kingdom of mist and 
sunshine, of sparkling dew-gems, and immemorial 
sUence. 

That night we sat in the moonlight and watched 
the white mists roll up out of the depths below 
until they covered the range, and only the ragged 
peaks stood out like islands above a flood that 
eddied and flowed about the edge of our lonely 
eerie. 

Next morning, on the 1st November, at 7.30 a.m., 
our two parties were drawn up ready to move off. 
Our old escort presented arms, and so I parted 
with that good soldier. Sergeant Beregi, Oya the 
magnificent, Dambia, Ogi of pig fame, and the 
rest, one and all smart men, fit to go anywhere, 
and well led to do anything. 

With them our 130 carriers returned. Men 
who, carrying single loads of 35 lb., and double 
ones of from 50 to 70 lb. over torrents spanned 
by single logs and swaying vine bridges, up and 
down innumerable and practically pathless hills 
and ravines, culminating in crossing the main 
range at nearly 9,000 feet, had taught us a lesson 
in human endurance never to be forgotten. 

For a moment we stood there, each reluctant to 
go our various ways, for if the world be small 
where tracks are beaten with the feet of commerce, 
it is large and lonely in untrodden wilds. Then 



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138 ACEOSS PAPUA 

we clasped Monckton's hand, and up into the 
heart of the hills he marched with his face set to 
a two months' tramp over unknown and possibly 
hostile country, there to bear alone the white 
man's burden — and, starting on the last phase of 
our march, down the steep descent we plunged, 
Bruce, our new leader, towering 6 feet 4 inches, 
in front — Cleaving Kagi to the sUence and the 
mists. 



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A STRANGE SEPULCHRE. 



[139 



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CHAPTEK X. 

THE LAST STAjBE OF OUR MARCH. 

We begin the Last Phase — A Strange Sepulchre — Our Mid-day Halt — 
A Thoughtful Leader — Our Camp — Race Suicide — Moral and Dignified 
— ^Wearing the Breeches — A Fascinating Study — A Haunting Song — 
A Papuan Valhalla — Burial Customs — Sugar Cane — Our First Level 
Track — Our First Mail — Two go Sick — " I've got it Beat " — The 
Opie — lorobaiva — Anthony — Bruce wants to go on— Women Carriers 
— A Tropical Storm — What Malaria can do— Pride of Race — The 
Last Hill but One — A Hornet's Nest— The Overland Mail— Iruta Puna 
— Strange Customs — George's Blandishments fail — Making Fire^George 
makes a Damper — Pipes and how they are Smoked — A Land of 
Plenty— The Last Mountain Village— Good. Old Harris — Sogeri. 

Alternately rising and falling, we at last reached 
a plateau, and looking back saw the crests of 
Mount Victoria towering above the clouds, with a 
peak to the right that marked our march, and still 
further the dark outline of the Gap. In front was 
a deserted native hut, and close by, in a grove of 
pandanus palms, a strange sepulchre j the body 
being encased in a sort of barrel made of rude 
staves and bound with cane, and fixed in an 
upright position on four poles. And there we left 
it in its grove, with the great fronds meeting over- 
head. Then down once more, with villages showing 
on the opposite slopes, again up a sheer bank, and 
through a garden, followed by a 2,000 feet climb, 
when after the usual steep drop we found ourselves 
in a beautiful spot whqre, beside a stream bright 
with rich blossoms and radiant butterflies, we 
halted. 



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140 ACROSS PAPUA 

Out of this the ascent was sharp, and then we 
moved along a gradual fall ; and Bruce and I 
having waited to finish our pipes, getting caught 
in the rain, took shelter in a native house, or 
rather under the platform of one, where we were 
entertained by the village fathers. The rain, 
lightening, we literally sHd down a greasy hiU, to 
find everyone snug in a dry camp, for Bruce, 
taking no chances, always sent on a fly pitching 
party at the mid-day halt, so that even if the rain 
caught us we knew our tents would be up. 

From Serigina we had been in the zone of 
mountain villages and gardens, and the one we 
were now camped in was set high on a slope, with 
mist-hung hiUs ia front full of ever-changing 
effects — here lovely tree-ferns grew, some I should 
say seventy feet high, straight and slim, and 
crowned with tufts of feathery fronds. 

These mountaineers, both men and women, are 
of glorious physique, but unfortunately for Papua 
are on the decrease, as each year the girls show 
less inclination for marriage, preferring the freer 
single life to the drudgery of growing and cooking 
a husband's food. Possibly also the fact that the 
girl knows that she will only be one of several 
wives, neglected in inverse ratio to her seniority, 
has something to do with this growing distaste for 
wedded bliss — and both these reasons are under- 
standable and reasonable, if, from a race point of 
view, to be regretted. But in other parts of 



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WEARING THE BREECHES 141 

Papua popiilation is on the decline, because 
married women use primitive but effective methods 
to avoid giving birth to children ; and this a 
magistrate of long experience told me was on the 
increase. So after aU race-suicide is not wholly 
peculiar to white peoples. These mountaineers 
are, however, I was told, a moral — and they cer- 
tainly are a dignified — people ; while on the Venapi 
River, at the foot of Mount Victoria, even a finer 
type is found, both men and women being of perfect 
symmetry. There, I believe, the women wear no 
ramis, while aU the men from Kagi on, unlike 
those on the other side of the range, use short 
ones, in place of the breech string. I was told 
that in the case of one tribe, somewhere in the 
south-east, the men wear women's ramis, the 
women men's breech clouts, in memory of a long 
dead day when the warriors ran away and left 
their wives to save the situation, and establish an 
unanswerable claim "to wear the breeches" for 
aU time. 

Taking them aU in aU these hill men and women 
were the finest we saw in Papua, the mountain 
land, as ever, giving the noblest race. Indeed, 
one of the most interesting studies in this fasci- 
nating island is that of its many tribes, often 
distinct in physical tjrpe, language, occupation, 
customs, dress, weapons, and character. 

At night they sang us a haunting song, in part 
recitative, in part waltz time, and at 6.45 we left 



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142 ACROSS PAPUA 

Maneri, and dropping down crossed a stream to 
face a 2,000 feet climb, but here a track was cut, 
and some attempt had been made to grade it. 
Half way up we got a view of the hUl-tribes' 
Valhalla, Mount Victoria, and saw the mists rising 
above "the gardens of the ghosts," to use the 
poetic, imagery of these people. They hold the 
belief that the spirits of their dead dwell in 
the great mountain, and that the rolling mist is 
smoke caused by the ghosts burning trees in 
preparing their gardens up on the ragged slopes 
and faces of the ravine-scarred range. 

Halting at Kurogaru we saw a grave covered 
with sticks (to keep off the pigs) set just beside a 
house. Others, again, bury their dead right 
Under their huts, but Government has forbidden 
a continuance of this custom on sanitary grounds. 
Other mountain tribes keep the body in the house, 
smoking it, whUe the nearest relations watch by 
the bier day and night for three months, singing 
the while in mournful chants the dead man's life 
story. Then the mummy is taken into the forest 
and put on a platform. A feast is held in the 
village, from which they all march with torches to 
the place of death, put some of the food beside 
the corpse, cast away their torches, and saying : 
" We have done all we could for yoii, so harm us 
not," leave their dead in the silence of the trees. 
These people have a supreme respect for the dead, 
a fact well illustrated by the following story : — 



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A CHIEF'S WARNING 143 

An old white man and his two sons had dwelt in 
the hiUs for some time when, during the absence 
of the elder boy, the father died, and was buried 
by the younger. On the other son's return he 
heartlessly remarked that he regretted being too 
late, as he would have liked to boil the old man's 
head. This coming to the ears of a well-known 
fighting chief, he became so enraged at the insult 
to the dead that he sent a message to the son, 
giving him a certain time in which to leave the 
district, and warning him that if ever he returned 
he would pay for his visit with his life. 

Climbing another hill we gradually dropped, and 
passiQg through some gardens, halted at Wamaia, 
where we saw young sugar-cane twelve feet high, 
six inches in circumference, and as sweet as treacle. 
StiU descending, we caught the full beauty of 
the foliage on the farther hiUs. Then for the first 
time since leaving Kokoda we marched along a 
level forest trackfor six miles, crossing two affluents 
of the Brown and many smaller streams, and at two 
o'clock went into camp at the entrance to a gorge. 
Here, thanks to the courtesy of Mr. Musgrave, we 
got our first mail from Australia since leaving 
Samarai, a special messenger from Port Moresby 
meeting us, and only those who have buried 
themselves from kith and kin in the mountain 
fastnesses of a practically unknown land can 
realise the anxiety opening that post meant, or 
the relief it was to learn that all was well 



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144 ACROSS PAPUA 

when it was written, even though it was a 
month old. 

George, who had been off colour for some days, 
here went down with fever, while Bruce, after a 
manful fight, had to take to his hammock suffering 
agony from cramp. In the morning Bruce was 
somewhat better, but George, who had taken thirty 
grains of quinine over night, and twenty more at 
daybreak, was so weak that it was proposed to 
leave him his fly standing, and a couple of police 
and carriers, so that he could come on when strong 
enough, but the plucky fellow would not hear of 
it. So at 6.45 we tackled a brute of a hiU, and 
while resting on top up came George, two men 
pulling and two shoving. Sinking on a log he 
mopped his forehead and gasped, " I've got it 
beat. Colonel, I've got it beat ! " As he put it, he 
was " sweating it out," and from then on got 
steadily better. 

Starting again we gradually dropped into a 
pretty creek, then rising, followed the ridge 
through bamboo groves and deserted gardens, 
descending by a fairly easy native road into the 
Opie River, with pretty villages nestling on the 
hills. From here we rose to the village of 
lorobaiva, the climb taking three-quarters-of-an- 
hour, although it was cleared and graded after a 
fashion. Half-way up Bruce halted, the perspira- 
tion literally dropping off him, and seeing he was 
in great pain, Herbert and I pushed on to the 



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ANTHONY 145 

village and got hot water and a bed ready for him 
in a native-built Government hut. As it was 
raining I ordered camp to be pitched, although it 
was only 11 o'clock, as I dared not risk letting 
two sick men go on. Anthony, Bruce' s warrant 
officer, saw to everything. He was a Ughtly built 
smart Maltese with most beautiful teeth, and first 
came to Papua as valet to Sir Peter Scratchley. 
He had since done most things, and wandered 
alone over many untrodden paths. Knowing a 
number of dialects and understanding native 
characteristics, he told me he had no fear of 
penetrating among tribes untouched by civiliza- 
tion. By Bruce's direction he had cut the tracks 
and graded some of the worst parts from Maneri 
with local native labour, in a way that said much 
both for his ingenuity and their adaptability to 
new conditions. 

When Bruce came in, hot fomentations after a 
while eased his agony, and like the plucky soldier he 
was, he oflEered to go on, but we would not hear of 
it. The camp stood on a summit surrounded by 
wooded ranges, and across the valley at our rear a 
lovely little village stood on a small plateau 
flanked by rich foliage and backed by a mist- 
crowned peak. In our front Mount Lawes rose, 
and in the dim distance lay the hills about Port 
Moresby. 

A number of our porters were now women, who 
not only carried huge packs on their backs held in 



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146 ACROSS PAPUA 

position by a band passed across the forehead, but 
often in addition a baby in a net sleeping on top 
of their burdens. The way these women sailed 
past me up some of the heart-breaking hills would 
have humiliated a pedestrian, but as I laid no 
claim to the title, their performance just filled me 
with admiration and a little pardonable envy. As 
I saw little toddlers being taught to " shin " up 
the ranges ahead of their mothers I ceased to 
wonder that these mountaineers, men and women 
alike, are such superb climbers. 

That afternoon I stood on the edge of the 
plateau. Below me tall tree-crests drooped over 
the thatched roofs of native houses rising in 
fruitful gardens. In the middle-distance rose a 
hill, its steep slopes radiant in green foliage, a 
plantain grove on its topmost face. Beyond 
great dark ranges spread on either flank, while in 
the far front hiU upon hill faded into the dim 
horizon. Over all the earth rolled billows of 
clouds, out of the sky deep tones of thunder fell, 
and sweeping up from the sea came white 
skirmishers of mist, with rain and storm following 
close behind. Swiftly it came, and striking a 
lordly peak filled aU the depths with whirling 
vapour, and then heaven's floodgates opened with 
a crash. Fierce spears of fire shot down into the 
valleys — and the storm was upon us. 

That night over a pipe Bruce told us it was at 
this village Judge Murray had to give up when on 



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PRIDE OF RACE 147 

his way to Kokoda from Port Moresby. It 
appears that, though sickening for fever before 
starting, he insisted on going, with the natixral 
result that the exertion after Sogeri brought it 
out, culminating in a breakdown at lorobaiva. 
From there Bruce brought him back to Sogeri, the 
Judge walking — or to be more accurate, crawling 
— every inch of the way, though Bruce begged 
him to use a litter wherever practicable. He 
reached Port Moresby a physical wreck, and when 
one remembers that he was a man in the prime of 
life, and one of the foremost athletes of his time, 
what malaria can do is all the more easily under- 
stood. When I saw him two years later, though 
mentally as strong as ever, and physically fit for 
his arduous work, he yet bore about with him the 
aftermath of that first under-rated attack. 

I verily believe most men in Papua would sooner 
die than be carried by the natives, preferring, so 
long as their legs are not broken, to struggle on, 
no matter how weak and ill they may be. It 
seems a point of honour with them never to 
endanger white prestige by accepting help from 
natives that carries with it the admission of 
being overpowered by physical weakness. Fortu- 
nately we were not put to the test in this matter ; 
stUl I cannot help thinking men sometimes may 
and do carry this pride of race to reckless and 
unnecessary extremes. 

Rising at 4.50, we saw the wondrous red light 

l2 



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148 ACROSS PAPUA 

flushing the ranges, while in front the mists floated 
up the faces of the hills. At 6.30 we started, and 
passing up among the sugar-cane, Victoria stood 
in all its embattled majesty. Then descending to 
a stream, a fair valley opened out. Marching up 
a water-course, and crossing rill after riU, we 
walked beneath gracious avenues of shade until 
we reached the foot of the last big hiU save one, 
and almost an hour of solid climb saw us at its 
top, and my leg giving me a bad time. Here 
Herbert, who was waiting, innocently suggested 
that I should sit for my photograph, and I fear 
my language was both earnest and unwarranted. 

A drop of fifty minutes, during which we nearly 
roused a nest of hornets about our ears (and that 
means chaos among carriers), brought us to a halt 
beside a crystal creek. Here a native passed us 
bearing a mail from Port Moresby to Buna Bay, 
or rather he would carry it to the next village, 
where another man would repeat the performance. 
So by uncertain stages it would go over the 
mountains and on down the level lands until in 
the fulness of time the letters would reach their 
destinations, always supposing some post boy did 
not grow weary, or get killed and eaten. Official 
mails are, however, always carried by two police, 
who do the whole journey to and from Kokoda 
in marvellous time, travelling both day and night. 

After a rest we walked for an hour up and 
down a broad track cleared by Anthony's natives, 



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THE OFFICIAL OVERLAND MAIL. 



[149 



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STRANGE CUSTOMS 149 

crossed the Egofi, the main tributary of the Goldie, 
and went into camp at the picturesque village of 
Iruta Puna, which is built on its bank, and is 
surrounded by bold, richly-wooded peaks and 
ranges. Here they cover the faces of newly-born 
babes so that their grandparents may not see 
them for a fixed period, on the expiration of 
which, the net is removed amid great rejoicings. 
In other places, after their dead become skeletons, 
they paint the bones just as the man was painted 
during life, and always hold the remains in high 
reverence. 

George, who was in great form, tried to induce 
the women to dance, and by way of encourage- 
ment did a few steps of an entirely new and agUe 
character towards where a number of them were 
sitting. But they just got up and went away. 
George explained that they were in mourning, and 
pointed to certain faces smeared black as proof 
that grief, not want of fascination on his part, was 
the cause of failure, and, of course, we had to 
accept his explanation. 

Here they " make fire " by passing a length of 
cane under a partly split piece of soft stick (the 
cleft being held open by a pebble), and draw it 
quickly up and down where the wood rests on 
some dry mulberry leaves. In response to the 
friction, smoke begins to rise in three or four 
minutes. 

George also baked a damper in native fashion. 



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150 ACROSS PAPUA 

First a hole already dug was covered over with 
wood, which in turn was piled up with stones, and 
then set alight. When it was burnt the natives 
lifted most of the hot stones out of the hole by 
means of cleft sticks. This they then filled with 
plantain leaves, and on them the damper was 
placed, covered with a dish. Over it the hot 
stones were packed, they being covered with green 
leaves, and then the whole was encased with 
earth. Twenty minutes later the damper was dug 
out baked to a turn. 

After supper carriers kept coming, as had been 
their habit aU the way from Buna Bay, to beg 
for paper in which to roll their tobacco. Some- 
times they smoke this in cigarette fashion, but 
generally out of a bamboo pipe. This consists of 
a single section, the joint being left at one end, 
and near this a small hole is bored through the 
stem. Placing the paper cigarette in this hole the 
native draws till the stem is full of smoke, and 
filling his own mouth, removes the cigarette and 
hands the pipe to his neighbour, who in turn passes 
it on tiU all the smoke is exhausted, and three or 
four are inhaling most villainously strong, black, 
trade-tobacco into their lungs. The pipe is then 
returned, the cigarette replaced, and the whole 
process repeated. Men travelling in Papua should 
always carry a supply of old magazines and 
papers to meet this demand, as it is a cheap and 
effective way of pleasing both police and carriers. 



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BESTING NEAR lEUTA PUNA. 



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A LAND OF PLENTY 151 

We found this land from Kagi one of beauty 
and great richness, which some day must give of 
its plenty to the World. Here we ate lovely 
bananas and luscious pine-apples, the latter fruit 
growing at Mount Knutsford at an altitude of 
as much as 5,000 feet. At Rigo just above sea 
level they are huge, some being 17 inches long by 
11^ inches in diameter. 

At 6.35 we bade farewell to the final real moun- 
tain village, and tramping over range and valley 
came to the last big hiU, and from its top saw in 
the far distance the last of the Gap and all the 
mystic mountain land. Still rising and falling, 
passing over shrunken streams and through foliage 
less deep and rich, we came on good old Harris, 
laden with letters and fuU of hearty welcome, and 
as we clasped hands he told us that Okeden was 
weU — so all was well. 

Topping our last rise we looked down on the 
plantations of Sogeri clinging to the opposite 
slopes. Then down the decline we went, through 
the village of Sogeri, past a hne of native chiefs, 
and walking in great form reached camp, and the 
end of our march, at 10.40 on the morning of 
November 5th, 1906. 



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CHAPTER XI. 

REFLECTIONS AND COFFEE. 

We Shake Hands on it— In Search of Gold — We Bum our Boats— Our 
Condition — What the March Proved — Feather Weights— Paying Fealty 
— A Future Policy— A Time that is Past — Dreams — The Transition 
Stage — A Possibility — Shirted Chiefs — Horses at Last — Mr. Ballantine's 
Plantation — Local Cofiee — Mr. Greene — A Seeker after Health — A 
Seeker after Knowledge — Go and do Likewise— The Plantation — What 
a Hundred Acres of Cofiee Costs— The Soil — What Sogeri Produces — We 
Leave Sogeri — A Vision Splendid — The Rouna Falls— The Copper Mine 
— Experts from Cooktown — Warirata — We Reach the other Sea — 
Re-united. 

Herbert and I shook hands on it, for our task was 
practically accomplished, a ride of thirty-five miles 
to Port Moresby being all that stood between us 
and the completion of a direct and continuous 
march from sea to sea. 

Monckton and Bruce said that we would be the 
first outsiders to do it, and that they were the 
only Government officers who had it to their 
credit, although Captain Barton and a very few 
other officials had crossed the main range to 
Kokoda, or reached that station from Buna Bay. 
Doubtless some of the diggers, who, in the early 
days of the Yodda and other mines, wandered 
from Port Moresby over the then unknown moun- 
tains to these fields, did eventually reach the 
opposite coast after taking risks and enduring 
hardships unrecorded and unsung — but none the 
less heroic. StUl their journeys, though performed 



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WHAT THE MARCH PROVED 153 

under far worse conditions than ours, were broken 
for long periods on the various " rushes." 

In sending the Merrie England back to Port 
Moresby we burnt our boats, for it would have 
been worse than useless to return to a malarial 
bed such as Buna Bay, had any of the party gone 
down with fever, for even Messrs. Whitten's 
monthly steamer was laid up at Samarai. While, 
once we left Kokoda, to have turned in our tracks 
would have been about as impracticable as to go 
on, for a man absolutely too weak to walk could 
never have been carried up and down many of the 
ravines and ranges we met, with any reasonable 
hope of pulling through. 

Starting both out of condition, the pace was of 
necessity never forced, though after a day or so, 
and from then on, Herbert could have easily 
walked with the best of them. Handicapped by a 
weak leg, and never by way of being a pedestrian, 
I was the lame duck of the convoy. 

Our march showed us the rich possibilities of 
the country from Buna Bay to Kokoda, and from 
Kagi to Sogeri; taught us the disabihties under 
which digging, and developmental prospecting is 
at present carried on ; the potentialities of the 
northern and mountain tribes ; the enormous 
difficulties of transport over the main range ; the 
arduous nature of operations undertaken to punish 
recalcitrant tribes ; and finally proved that in this 
maligned climate it is possible for unseasoned 



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154 ACROSS PAPUA 

men, starting in no sense in the pink of walking 
form, to get across Papua (the main range thrown 
in) without contracting a symptom of malarial 
fever or any other disease. It is true that both 
Monckton and George had attacks, but they were 
recurrences brought out by exertion, and so could 
not be debited against this trip. So all things 
considered, our march of twenty-two days, on 
twenty of which rain fell, and which included 
practically five days at Kokoda and the Yodda, 
was, I consider, amply justified. 

We got weighed at Sogeri, when I found I was 
10 st. 5 lb., having lost a stone since leaving the 
Yodda and two for my trip, while even Herbert 
was short of a good deal, a fact which says much 
for the strenuousness of those days, during the 
last four of which we crossed eight hills averaging 
over 4,000 feet above sea level, which meant in 
each instance 2,000 feet of solid up and down for 
us, and this at the easy end. 

On reaching Sogeri we had seven or eight chiefs 
in om- party, aU of whom, I gathered from Bruce, 
were going with him to Port Moresby, there to 
visit Captain Barton in token of fealty and 
friendship, and I believe not only they, but the 
natives generally, had an honest affection for the 
Administrator, responding to a sympathetic regard, 
which he in turn undoubtedly possessed for all 
the rights and customs pertaining to the brown 
race. 



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A TIME THAT IS PAST 155 

Any further official policy of development to be 
either just or successful must continue fully and 
generously to recognise these, and must firmly 
insist that settlers of whatever class work along 
similar lines. At the same time the natives must 
not be spoilt, and be rendered alike insolent, idle, 
and both useless and dangerous by being 
encouraged to assume that aU the powers of 
Government are exerted for the sole aim and 
object of giving them inter-tribal peace, and 
unlimited rights to land they cannot develop, and 
indeed have no use for or just claim to. 

The time is past in the history of the world 
when any people, be they white, black, or brown, 
can hope to hold for long, undeveloped, and empty 
acres from the teeming and industrious millions of 
the over-crowded and rapidly awakening East. 
A narrow strip of sea, and a single fleet alone 
guard both Australia and Papua from bloody and 
absolute absorption to-day, so, for the safety of 
both, Papua cannot be left in its primal state. 
The man who thinks otherwise is an impracticable 
dreamer, while the one who puts one stone in the 
path of legitimate white settlement for any cause 
whatever, is an enemy not only to the Empire as 
a whole, but to aU men, the natives included. 

Attempts (admittedly in the main both earnest 
and honest) to graft civilised ideas on to primal 
customs, and century-old superstitions, have 
already sapped barbarian vigour, and awakened 



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156 ACEOSS PAPUA 

desires that will no longer permit of either a return 
to old conditions, or a halt at the present mile- 
stone. The Papuan must either develop, or sink 
into gradual but sure mental, moral, and physical 
extinction. A late report of Captain Barton 
brings this latter possibility into sinister relief. 
In it he says " while larger crimes such as murder 
are on the decrease, the smaller ones, such as 
theft, etc., are on the increase." In other words, 
cunning now dictates suppression of those passions, 
the gratification of which entails heavy punish- 
ment, but no moral sense forbids indulgence in 
spineless sneak-thief vices, for which the penalty 
is so slight as to be practically non-existent. 

I believe the Papuan, in whose veins flows blood 
over 9,000 years old, has still enough vitality left 
to flourish side by side with, and to learn from, a 
more highly developed people, but the teaching 
must be gradual, practical, and systematic, while 
firmness, kindness, and scrupulous fairness must 
be the creed of every white man in his dealings 
with the native, for with undeveloped intelligences 
an ounce of practice is worth a ton of precept. On 
the other hand. Government, whenever possible 
must see to it that want brought on by idleness, is 
only relieved by hard work, and that every white 
man who has earned it, gets his fuU measure of 
respect from every brown one. 

All the chiefs who joined us from Kagi onwards 
were arrayed in more or less dirty shirts, while in 



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GODOI, CHIEF OF THE BAEURI TEIBB. [156 



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SKIRTED CHIEFS 157 

one or two cases a depraved slouch or battered 
hard hat was added to this ridiculous costume. 
They reminded me strongly, if sadly, save in 
physique, of the degenerate aborigines who haunt 
"way-back " country towns of Austraha, and the 
pity of it was, and is, that they are hugely proud, 
and wickedly fond of, these cheap, and dirty gar- 
ments. So marked is this strange infatuation that 
nothing wUl induce them to take one off. If 
fortunate enough to obtain others they place these 
in turn over the original gift. We had the 
greatest difficulty in inducing one fellow to " peel " 
for a photograph, and when after a physical as 
well as mental struggle he did, the state of the 
first — or rather last — shirt would have taken a 
Zola to describe. Admitting that these chiefs are 
only shadowy figure-heads, seldom (thanks to the 
almost universal communal system) wielding 
influence that extends beyond their own relations, 
anything outside of this being strictly of a personal 
nature, still it seems a pity to make their robe of 
office alike health destroying, and ludicrous. I 
was told that it was Sir William McGregor's idea, 
which made me, while marvelling, still hesitate to 
criticise, and yet when I saw the chieftains standing 
in line at Sogeri I sought in vain for a reason, 
save a humorous one, strong enough to warrant 
the presentation of those insanitary, and awful 
shirts. 

At Sogeri horses, were waiting us, including 



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158 ACROSS PAPUA 

"Rigo," and no returning Arab ever rejoiced more 
over his "desert darling" than I on once again 
throwing a leg across my old ear-kicking mount. 

In the afternoon we rode (Oh blessed word !) up 
to Mr. BaUantine's coffee plantation, which is 
most picturesquely placed on the slope and crown 
of a ridge with a wonderful view from the trim 
little bungalow stretching away down the vaEey, 
backed by lofty peaks, and cloud-capped ranges. 
Helped by good soil, and an admirable situation, 
this plantation must grow in value every year, a 
result which its owner thoroughly deserves, for he 
has, though a busy official, kept it going by paying 
others to manage for him, and has the reputation 
of never having used his position to obtain native 
labour to the detriment either of private, or 
Government interests. 

Here we tasted locally grown coffee, excellent 
alike as regards taste, strength, and aroma. 

Riding up and down a graded and weU-made 
road constructed by natives under the supervision 
of Mr. Greene, we reached the plantation managed 
and partly owned by this most industrious and 
intelligent colonist. Originally a bank-clerk in 
Mauritius, he came to Papua (ludicrous as it 
sounds) in search of health — none the less he found 
it, for he told me that, save for a little fever when 
he settled on the Astrolabe (attributed by him to 
the opening up of virgin soil, though I am not quite 
clear as to how this fits in with the anopheles 



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SUCCESSFUL COFFEE PLANTING 159 

theory) he had been fitter and stronger than during 
any other period of his life. 

Apparently without possessing any special 
expert knowledge with regard to coffee-growing, 
he read up the question intelligently and throwing 
abundant industry into his practice, has succeeded 
in transforming " a white elephant " into a con- 
tinually increasing asset. To quote the Royal 
Commissioners' report, — " The area at present 
consists of 129 acres of which 55 are under coffee. 
This has been planted for three-and-a-half years, 
and the present crop of from nine to ten tons is 
estimated to realise about £600, while the total 
outlay up to date has been about £900. Mr. Greene 
is also growing rubber successfully." 

What Mr. Greene (originally handicapped by a 
weak constitution and want of special training) has 
accomphshed should be weU within the scope of 
any healthy, intelligent, and industrious young man 
with small capital, but ample patience and tenacity 
of purpose, who is prepared to make his plantation 
his life-work for a few years. Nor do I know a 
more beautiful, healthy, and convenient (it is only 
thirty-five miles from Port Moresby) spot in the 
whole of Papua for him to make a start than at or 
near Sogeri, 1,800 feet above sea level and with 
infinite possibilities of expansion right back to Kagi. 

Reaching the plantation we rode up a path lined 
on each side with magnificent pine-apples until we 
halted in front of a charming if small bungalow. 



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160 ACROSS PAPUA 

with walls of matting, roof of grass, floors of palm- 
slabs, and circled and shaded by a broad verandah, 
the whole built on piles and raised some feet above 
the ground. Behind it great clumps of bamboo 
cast long shadows, which on each side from trellises, 
granadiUa vines hung green and fruitful. In front 
and all around coffee trees flourished, while paw 
paws, mangoes, and purple-leaved plants rose from 
amid fair flowers, and beyond them aU a vaUey 
stretched into the dim distance. A few years ago 
this planter's paradise was virgin bush ! 

The extract below, taken from the report of the 
Royal Commission, may prove interesting to 
intending settlers. 

The following estimate of the cost of planting 100 acres of 
coffee in this part of Papua may be taken as substantially 
correct, the figures having been carefully checked by a man 
who is himself the only successful planter in the whole of 
Papua : — 

Estimate of Cost of Coffee Planting in Pafua. 

100 Acres. Bushes planted 8 feet by 8 feet. 

1. Nursery expenses, seed, etc. 

2. Felling, clearing, and holing (8 feet 

by 8 feet) at £1 per acre (including 
pegs for lining) 

3. Lining 

4. Planting out .. 

5. Tools 

6. House for owner or superintendent 

7. Huts for boys 

8. *Machinery— Pulper, 30 or 40 tons £26 

Pulping house ... 15 

Three boxes for fermenting. 
One box for washing 10 

— 51 
* Would not be required until trees were in bearing. 



£ 


s. 


d. 


10 








100 








10 








50 








15 








50 








30 









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WHAT SOGERI PRODUCES 



161 



9. *Drying shed £20, Trays (40) £25... 
10. Contingencies 



£ s. d. 

45 

50 

£411 



* Would not be required until trees were in bearing. 
Annual Cost. 



Interest, 6 per cent, on £411 ... 

Survey fees 

|Rent of land for first ten years 
Recruiting 40 boys at £4 — £160 every 

three years 
Labour, 40 boys at £3 per annum 
Supervision 

Total cost per annum 



or excluding supervision 

f Rent — ^First ten years 
Second ten years 
Afterwards 



£ s. 


d. 


24 13 


3 


nil. 




nil. 




53 6 


8 


120 





250 





£447 19 


11 


£197 19 


11 



Nil. 

Not more than 6d. per acre. 
5 per cent, of unimproved 
value, to be appraised every 
20 years. 



Coffee requires friable, weU-drained soil, on the 
side of a hiU for preference. At Sogeri, 1,600 feet 
above sea level, the soil is a rich volcanic chocolate, 
and the country very similar to the Tweed River 
in New South Wales. On it we saw growing, 
coffee, rubber, peaches, cinnamon, granadillas, 
loquats, vanilla, pepper, mandarines, tobacco, 
pine-apples, paw paws, saffron, ginger, bananas, 
citrons, tomatoes, and the usual native foods. 

Mounting, Bruce, Herbert, Harris, George and 
I rode away from Sogeri at six on November 7th, 
leaving the carriers to follow, and when later I saw 



M 



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162 ACROSS PAPUA 

them passing into Port Moresby, quite a number 
of the men who had carried their loads without 
apparent discomfort up and down the ranges 
between Kagi and Sogeri were visibly distressed 
and limping. The difficulties of the road from 
Sogeri on were in no way responsible, for it was 
both easier and better made, a drier climate and 
stonier surface being the sole causes of their 
partial break-down, for even Papuan carriers 
cannot for long bear heavy burdens over hard 
roads on bare feet. 

After riding for some miles through easy country 
we ran into gum ridges that suggested alike 
Australia and good stock land. Then passing 
stunted palms, dropped into the Laloki River, a 
broad, shallow, and picturesque stream. For a 
while Australia and Papua alternated in stretches 
of open forest and tropical belts, then from the 
vantage ground of a village we saw a vision 
splendid. In our front a great chasm, the river 
boiling in its depths. To the right a wall of rock- 
faced cliffs. On our left rich volcanic hiUs grassed 
to their tree-crowned summits and embossed with 
huge boulders of conglomerate. In the middle- 
distance Mount Lawes rising barren and alone, and 
stretching to the shadowy outlines of the coast 
hiUs a fertile campagna, a streak of deep foliage 
marking the winding course of the Laloki as it 
flowed down its centre to the Coral Sea. Then 
we rode by mountain paths tiU we came to the 



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THE COPPER MINE 163 

Rouna Falls. Here the river plunged suddenly in 
a sheer 300 feet of white foam to the depths 
below, noble in volume, beautiful beyond compare, 
in its pure stainless contrast to the black walls 
and green foliage of the dark ravines. 

By a track cut high on the sides of the hiUs, we 
passed on, the river flowing far below until we 
came to a copper mine, and ofiE-saddled for lunch. 
During our absence local shares had jumped, and 
Bruce, who held a big interest, was jubilant, while 
the fame of it having been noised abroad, certain 
experts, including a Captain Minter, had come 
over from Cooktown to spy out the land, and were 
at the mine on our arrival. The work done 
appeared to be of the prospecting order, and the 
Captain,^ who I found was the brother of an old 
back-country friend of mine, told me that no 
defined lead had as yet been discovered. He 
further informed me that while looking round he 
had chanced on a small lake far up on the range, 
and when I surveyed his stately proportions I 
realised that he was giving the syndicate who sent 
him a lot of energy for their money. They were 
packing the ore for Port Moresby on mules, and, 
whatever be the fate of this particular mine, I 
fancy that good finds wiU yet be struck in this 
district. 

Still, near the Laloki, now calmer and with 
placid stretches, on we rode until striking away 
to the left we climbed a hill and saw behind us 

M 2 



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164 ACROSS PAPUA 

the bold broken cliffs and crags o£ the Astrolabe, 
with Warirata plantation perched near a summit. 
Then every mile it grew more barren and drought- 
stricken, the very trees being leafless, a few 
wallabies hopping here and there, tUl after a 
section of good broad road we topped a rise, and 
at our feet, glowing and calm, lay the ocean. 
Passing through a vUlage, radiant with the scarlet 
bloom of poncianas, we cantered over a flat, up 
round a bend, and down to where " Hill worth " 
nestled above Ela Beach, and so completed our 
march from "sea to sea." 

Bidding good-night to Bruce, who had made 
our journey from Kagi as pleasant and easy as 
was humanly possible, we once more clasped 
hands with Okeden, who had hurried from his 
work in answer to our "coo-ee," and so stood 
re-united to a colleague and friend who had worked 
himself almost to a standstill with most important 
and often most uncongenial labour, while we had 
been moving through scenes of surpassing grandeur 
and beauty, and experiences of never flagging 
interest. 



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CHAPTER XII. 

POSSIBILITIES OF THE WEST. 

Port Moresby Again— A Prehistoric Man— Natural Barriers — Our Work 
is Done— We Say Farewell — Redscar Bay — Yule Island — The Sacred 
Heart — ^Women Papua owes much to — Improved Health Conditions — 
A Sheep Experiment — A Genial Christian — A Medical A.B.M. — Mount 
Yule — A River's Mouth — Ermelo — Out of the Dry Belt — Keen 
Traders — Village Fathers as Teachers — Bramble Cay at Night — Rats 
for Lunch — Rohu's Experience — First Australian Land — Darnley 
Island — Daru — -Titanic Stone Axes — Curios — A Practical Worker — 
Pythons v. Fowls — At the Gaol — Irrigation^ Agriculturists —A Great 
Lone Land— Class of Country and Soil — Tobacco — Timber and Labour 
— Portable Saw-mills — The Other Side of the Picture — Agricultural 
Products — Land and Natives — Climate — A Dream of the Future — 
The Present — Farewell Papua. 

I TAKE it that Port Moresby is the smallest capital 
in the world, the white population consisting of 
forty-one men, sixteen women, and twelve children. 
According to the Chief Government Medical Officer 
the health of the women is excellent, while children 
get on very weU up to the age of four or five, 
when, if not sent to a more bracing climate every 
two or three years, they, as in every tropical 
country, show a tendency to grow flabby and 
anaemic. When at Samarai we saw a dear Httle 
girl of two, born on the island, and looking 
the picture of health. Given a hill station at 
Astrolabe and a good school at Port Moresby, I 
can see no reason why both adults and children 
should not live there and enjoy reasonable health 
all the year round without frequent and expensive 
trips to Australia. 



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166 ACROSS PAPUA 

Captain Hunter told me that while fishing off a 
small island lying just outside the harbour he saw 
embedded in a sort of cement just washed by the 
tide the perfect skeleton of a man. Unfortunately 
on his return he told of his find, with the result 
that certain of the inhabitants tried to shift it with 
dynamite, succeeding so effectually that a most 
interesting and possibly prehistoric aborigine was 
lost for ever to science. 

While I doubt if a road will ever be constructed 
over the main range practicable for general traffic, 
it, on the other hand, must for all time remain an 
effectual barrier between Port Moresby and hostile 
invasion from the north-east, while the reef- 
strewn coast will ever make attack from the sea 
both difficult and dangerous, for in the inner basin, 
completely landlocked and only possible of entrance 
from Port Moresby proper (which is a good har- 
bour of decent depth and reasonable scope for 
jetty buildings), destroyers could crouch in safety 
and unseen, ready to dash out and into a hostile 
fleet. So if in the fulness of time the capital 
develops in proportion to the richness of the 
country, it is well situated by reason of its harbour 
to accommodate the needs of commerce and, 
thanks to its natural advantages, to resist foreign 
occupation. 

One evening — our work done — we looked upon 
the clear cut islands and soft mystic ranges and 
peaks for the last time. That night the sun set out 



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YULE ISLAND 167 

beyond the harbour gates glorious in raiment of 
rose and green and gold, but we said farewell with- 
out regret, for on the morrow we saUed for the 
South land, and love and home. 

Bidding good-bye to the faithful George, two or 
three ofl&cials, the corporal who had served me 
splendidly from Kagi, and our two " boys," we left 
Port Moresby at 9.15 on the morning of November 
23rd. As the Merrie England steamed out of 
the harbour a soft azure light mantled the hills 
that rise behind Fairfax Harbour. Then as we 
cleared the bluff beneath whose base Ela lies, we 
caught a glimpse of "HUlworth" with the mists 
floating midway on purple hiUs, while behind rose 
the blue Astrolabe — and coast-wise all things 
swam into dim mystic distances of ever-changing 
tones of colour. 

Hugging the shore, which consisted of barren 
hiUs, and low-lying country backed by cloud- 
capped ranges, and passing an occasional lakatoi, 
we reached Redscar Bay, into which the Rivers 
Brown, Venapi, Goldie, and Laloki aU empty. 
About this point we dropped the reef, nor did we 
pick it up again on this coast. About 3.30 Yule 
Island was sighted, the country, now consisting of 
low wooded ranges with tree-clad flats by the 
shore. Here a lakatoi passed, having four square 
cut ugly canvas sails in place of the graceful 
pinions of native fibre. So, already, the old 
order changeth, giving place to the new, and in 



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168 ACROSS PAPUA 

a case such as this, I can only say, alas the pity 
of it! 

Dropping anchor off the Grovernment Station at 
Yule Island we were met on landing by the 
co-adjutor Bishop, and Father Theodore, both 
French and charming. They took us up to the 
Sacred Heart Mission Station where we made the 
acquaintance of other priests, and later. Archbishop 
Navarre, a pleasant old gentleman, and a veteran 
missioner, he having been in Papua twenty-five 
years. He told me he meant here to await his call — 
a labourer to the end. 

These missioners (their coast-line being ex- 
tremely limited) have penetrated about ninety 
miles inland, constructing at a cost of £900 a 
horse-road for most of the distance. I understand 
they did a lot of the labour personally, as is the 
habit of their order in all things, and that, as a 
consequence, some of them died, and many suffered 
severely from fever. This I can quite under- 
stand, as I am fully convinced that white men 
will never be able to perform hard manual work 
in the open in Papua, save possibly on some of 
the high altitudes. 

They graze a hundred head of cattle and eight 
horses on the island, and about 200 cattle on the 
mainland, where they also have a cocoa-nut planta- 
tion of over 400 acres, using ploughs drawn by 
horses, which latter they hope soon to replace by 
oxen for this class of work. Having plenty of mUk 



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WOMEN PAPUA OWES MUCH TO 169 

they make butter and cheese, and, as each Father 
is master of a trade, are all qualified alike to do 
every class of practical work, or teach it to the 
natives. 

A band of sisters is attached to the Mission as 
teachers and nurses. For these noble and self- 
sacrificing women, be they sisters, or lay nurses, 
or missionaries' wives, in whatever part of Papua, 
I have naught but unqualified admiration. 

Yule Island is undulating, with clumps of trees 
alternating with stretches of grass land, and when 
this is green it must be a lovely spot. Once very 
unhealthy, it is now a fairly healthy station, 
thanks to clearing away a lot of the mangroves, 
and owing to the fact that the cattle both eat 
down the grass, and provide better food for the 
Mission. The Fathers are experimenting with 
sheep on the mainland, but while this is an 
interesting and praiseworthy departure, I person- 
ally have small hope of any practical result. 

I do not think the Sacred Heart employs island 
teachers. If not, a great field for teaching the 
natives English lies in front of young Australian 
Catholics, always provided that they are eligible for 
work in this Mission. 

After a simple dinner, cooked and served by 
our hosts, we returned to the ship, where we met 
Mr. Dancy of the London Missionary Society, who 
lived on the opposite mainland. He was a fine 
looking, healthy, genial man, whose nineteen years 



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170 ACROSS PAPUA 

in Papua had left no sign, at least outwardly. 
Unfortunately time would not allow us to accept 
his hearty invitation to visit his station, so after a 
pleasant chat he bade us farewell, and we went on 
with our work. 

Dr. Strong, the Assistant Resident Magistrate 
for the District, was also on board. He is a doctor 
of medicine, and, were it possible, it would be a 
splendid thing for both whites and natives if 
every resident magistrate and assistant resident 
magistrate had even a sound elementary medical, 
but especially surgical, knowledge. 

Leaving Yule Island, and steaming in sight of a 
wooded but uninteresting coast-Une, we passed a 
range broken into great clefts, and fang-like peaks, 
having for a cidminating point and centre Mount 
Yule, shooting its lonely head into the sky 
10,040 feet above sea level. Hundreds of white 
fleecy clouds floated quiescent along the whole 
dark blue front of this chain, resting above, 
behind, and about its sharp cut crests. All the 
coast was now broken, in one spot a column of 
mist defining the existence of a river's mouth. 
StiU bearing across the Gulf of Papua we almost 
lost sight of land, tUl at four we ran into a bay 
with a bar in shore, and anchored about four 
miles oflf Ermelo Station. Here cocoa-nuts grew 
in profusion, this country being out of the dry 
belt. The coast-land is low-lying, backed by 
ranges 4,000 feet high, but beyond a Govern- 



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KEEN TRADERS 171 

ment, and London Missionary Society Station; 
white population — save for an odd trader — ^is 
non-existent. 

The natives are of good physique, possessing 
shghtly Jewish features and keen trading instincts, 
and they soon swarmed about the ship in canoes, 
trying to seU us dancing masks, and prettily dyed 
ramis. 

The Resident Magistrate, Mr. Griffin, a retired 
officer of artillery, who won his D.S.O. for good 
work in South Africa, told us that they not only 
build great dobus (or houses) holding from 200 to 
300 men, but that it is their custom to place 
young male children in certain of these, where 
they grow to manhood under the care and super- 
vision of the elders of the village, who instruct 
them in all manly and warlike exercises, point out 
the dangers of immorality, both from a personal, 
but more particularly a tribal standpoint, and 
generally inculcate a high standard of living, 
based on the duty each individual owes to his 
State here representied by his particular village. 
Griffin added that this custom was on the decline. 
It is regrettable that it cannot be re-awakened 
and fostered on broader and, in certain matters, 
more industrial lines. 

Leaving at eight in the morning, we found our- 
selves in calm water out of sight of land, and at 
mid-day anchored about a mile off Bramble Cay, 
a small sandy atol a quarter of a mile long, and 



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172 ACROSS PAPUA 

from 200 to 300 yards across, its centre — which is 
a guano deposit — being carpeted with a sort of 
spinach plant. A cluster of rocks near were 
covered by sea-guUs, boobies, and other smaller 
birds, while hundreds flew about our heads when 
we landed. The atol was strewn with coal, a ship 
laden with 2,000 tons having been wrecked on a 
reef close by, and some " boys " we were taking 
to Daru to be paid off, and an odd murderer or so 
going to the same place "to do time," amused 
themselves by throwing it, and sticks, at the 
birds, which were very tame. Having brought 
down a few, and caught some rats, they singed 
them and ate the lot practically raw. 

A bird-catcher named Rohu had a somewhat 
grim experience here. Left with enough pro- 
visions to last a month, and depending for water 
on a depression partly full, he one day, in trying 
to clean it out, poked a hole in the rotten bottom 
and lost his supply. Being a man of resource, he 
fixed up a condenser with his pint, and just 
managed to hold out until the Merrie England 
chancing that way saw his signal and took him 
off, but it was a close call. This was the first 
Australian land we touched, for it belongs to 
Queensland, and possesses a beacon erected by the 
Government of that State. 

Rowing back, we ran into three or four large 
turtles at play, and saw a fine sunset with Darnley 
Island rising out of the sea thirty miles away. 



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IN THE MOONLIGHT 173 

There many divers have perished through going 
too deep for pearls, which are very fine off this 
island. Once the Daru pearling fleet used to coal 
at Bramble Cay, but that is now a tale that is 
told, the grounds being worked out. 

At eight we went ashore again to catch turtles, 
but without success, they being too shy or too 
smart for us. Still, it was cool and beautiful in 
the moonlight, with the white sand, and dark sea 
in contrast, and a little weird as well, for we were 
alone on the waters, save for the lights from our 
vessel shining out of the night. 

At 6.30 the following morning we sighted a flat 
coast-line, and about 7.30 anchored off Daru, a 
low-set island facing a shore of mangroves and 
taller trees, unrelieved by any backing of hills. 

Rowing over acres of mud, we landed near 
the Customs House, and a couple of stores, and, 
walking by well-kept, shell-paved paths through a 
space of cleared ground, reached a higher slope, 
on which stood the gaol, resident magistrate's 
house, and, further on, the London Missionary 
Society's Station, everything being very park-like, 
and made beautiful by glorious crotons, clumps 
of palms, oleanders in bloom, and other flowers; 
the whole fenced about by primal forest (in parts 
where the underbush was cleared), somewhat 
suggestive of our own bush. 

On either side of the steps leading up to the 
resident magistrate's bungalow a row of stone- 



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174 ACROSS PAPUA 

axes stood, edge up. Some must have been over 
fourteen inches long, and all were beautifully made. 
Mr. Jiear told me he got them on the beaches of 
the Ply River, and later, when I asked a store- 
keeper and trader if he had seen any, he replied 
that he had a lot in his boat as ballast. If so, a 
race physically more powerful, and infinitely more 
numerous than that of to-day, must have lived 
on the banks of the great river. 

Mr. Jiear showed us a head-dress made of white 
feathers, which, when on, would reach to an 
ordinary man's heels, and was in shape exactly 
like some worn by the North American Indians. 
He told me that during one of his inland trips he 
had been given certain privileges of brotherhood 
by one of the tribes, which admitted him to their 
councils, and gave him the right to claim their 
help and protection, and that this head-dress was 
worn by initiates at their ceremonies. If I 
properly understood him, then certain of the 
Western tribes hold at least one important rite in 
common with the red man. His house was full of 
artistically marked arrows and other interesting 
curios ; but, after Mrs. Jiear had given us a 
dainty Irnich on a broad, cool verandah, we 
had to leave them, being due at the London 
Missionary Society's Station. Here everything 
was in splendid order, and we found Mr. Riley to 
be a practical enthusiast, who believed in teaching 
the natives how to make the best use of their 



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PYTHONS V. FOWLS 175 

agricTiltural opportunities, and who had no time 
for lazy converts. The school, however, was what 
interested me most, and more than ever confirmed 
me in the belief that the Papuan can and will 
master English if given a fair chance, and an 
enthusiastic and capable teacher. Both these 
essentials are combined in Mrs. Riley, a Nowra 
girl by the way, and one of the healthiest, 
brightest women I met in Papua. The teaching 
during school hours was purely secular, and 
eminently practical and useful, with, I should 
say, most satisfactory results as regards both 
boys and girls. Several of the latter were, as 
well, excellent needlewomen, and one girl was 
working with the objective of buying a sewing- 
machine for herself ; while one boy at least — a 
brainy-looking little feUow — would have held his 
own anywhere, and Mr. Riley told me he was con- 
stantly being critically questioned by his pupUs 
after telling some of the Bible stories. As an 
instance, having given his class an account of 
how Noah took two of each type of bird, animal, 
and insect into the Ark, and so preserved the 
various species, a boy next day came to him and 
asked, " Did Noah take two of each sort ? " 
"Yes," rephed Riley. "Two fowls?" "Yes." 
" Two pythons ? " " Yes." " No fear," said the 
boy. "But why?" "Why," laughed the boy, 
"because if Noah had put two pythons in the 
same Ark as those fowls, there wouldn't be any 



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176 ACROSS PAPUA 

fowls now." Which reminds me of the story of 
the bewildered savage on the south-east coast, 
who, on being asked how he was getting on 
spiritually, shook his head, and in the bitterness 
of his soul cried, " Before missionary come me 
have plenty debil, then Dr. Lawes come, he fetch 
noder debU, then Dr. BromUow him bring noder, 
then Bishop Stoney Wigg him come along with 
anoder, now me got three new debils to dodge as 
well as old ones." 

At the gaol we saw vats full of native sago, solid, 
pasty, sour-smelling stuff, but appreciated by the 
prisoners. Of these, all the Kiwais we saw, both 
men and women, had a distinctly Jewish type of 
features, and were strongly buUt. Jiear told us 
adultery was a crime on the increase, nor is the 
reason difficult to find. UntU. Government stepped 
in and abolished club law, this moral lapse meant 
death or nearly as bad at the hands of the injured 
husband. Now at worst it only results in a short 
stay ia durance of the most free and easy order, 
with good and regular meals thrown in. The 
Western tribes have the reputation of being not 
only sensual, but inclined to the practice of 
unnatural crimes, but Jiear said that his experience 
did not warrant him in coming to the latter con- 
clusion, at any rate to the extent of regarding it as 
a race vice. 

They are physically a fine people, and should 
make good soldiers. By occupation agriculturists. 



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A GREAT LONE LAND 177 

they grow, besides cocoa-nuts, plantains, and the 
ordinary native foods, tobacco, and irrigate their 
gardens on the Fly by means of the rise of the 
tide. As their methods appear to be in advance 
of those adopted by most of the other tribes, it 
seems reasonable to hope that some day they will 
not only profit by white example, but will also 
take kindly to working on European plantations. 

The West is to-day a great lone land, vast 
areas of which no white man's eyes have seen. 
But enough is known to forecast for it a future 
of great agricultural, pastoral, and industrial 
prosperity. 

Mr. Bruce, who in twenty-five years had never 
been further south than Thursday Island, save for 
one year in the old country, and who looked hard, 
and fit enough to face another quarter of a 
century, told the Commission that he had been 
350 miles up the Fly, the first sixty miles being 
mangrove, the next twenty nipa palms, after that 
open forest, then forest and grass land. Eighty 
miles up the river he went inland for about one 
hundred miles, and found rich open forest country, 
well grassed. It was generally very flat for about 
twenty miles from the river, with then a rise of 
thirty to forty feet above the plain, followed by 
timber country. Ninety miles from the mouth he 
measured the depth of the bank, and found it to 
be seventeen feet six inches of black loam down 
to the clay, and he expressed the opinion that this 



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178 ACROSS PAPUA 

character of soil obtained for the whole 350 miles 
of his voyage. 

He had shipped tobacco leaf preserved by the 
natives to manufacturers in various parts of the 
world, who informed him that it was first class 
tobacco (but badly cured) and most suitable for 
the manufacture of cigars. 

Speaking as a man with a certain knowledge 
alike of timber and vessels, he considered that the 
possibilities ahead of this industry on the Fly and 
other Western rivers were great. In his opinion 
a steamer of 500 tons shallow draft could get up 
the Fly from 300 to 400 miles, and for 300 miles 
there was any amount of splendid hardwood, with 
enough native labour to do the hauling and cutting 
cheaply, but that at any rate in the west there 
should be no trouble in this connection either as to 
supply, or cost. For the Fly he advocated 
portable saw-mUls capable of being moved from 
place to place, as in America, the steamers to go 
alongside the bank and load. One hardwood men- 
tioned by him being ant-resisting should be 
invaluable on the Indian railways, while others 
were excellent cabinet woods, showing beautiful 
figuring. 

The other side of the picture, according to 
Captain Hunter, is that from the break of the 
barrier at Redscar Head to HaU Sound, and from 
thence to Daru, there is no safety save during five 
months of the year, namely, from the beginning of 



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TIMBER AND CULTIVATION 179 

November to the beginning of March, and that 
Hall Sound is the only harbour west of Port 
Moresby where vessels can he in security aU the 
year round, though the other anchorages are safe 
in the north-west season. Further, that the 
west coast, including the mouth of the Fly, is 
girdled with long shoals and sand-bars, and that 
the channels of this river are ever changing — 
islands disappearing and appearing with marvellous 
rapidity on its uncertain bosom. StiU these, if 
serious, are not insuperable difficulties, and in my 
opinion, a practical timber expert should be sent 
without delay to Papua to report on its timber 
possibilities. 

Among products indigenous to the Fly, manilla 
hemp, sago, tobacco, and kapok or cotton, grow 
wild, while the natives cultivate sugar cane, and 
enormous quantities of bananas. According to 
Bruce, there should be small difficulty in obtaining 
land without injustice to the natives, as " that 
occupied by them is a mere flea-bite," while 
Mr. Jiear stated that "generally speaking they 
are particularly friendly to whites." 

Speaking of the climate, the Resident Magistrate 
said that " with the exception of ordinary malaria 
Europeans can live here without getting much 
disease, but they appear to run down very quickly, 
and have to go away frequently," which doubtless 
refers to, and is true of, the low-lying coast. 
Bruce, on the other hand, stated, " I would caU it 

n2 



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180 ACROSS PAPUA 

good, when you get away from the mangroves, 
I say then there is no fever, and very few 
mosquitoes " ; which is also doubtless an honest 
opinion. Strike an average, and I think the result 
would be about the climate of the West. 

Drained, and niu^tured by a mighty river which, 
fed by streams we would account splendid, pours its 
waters, bom in the womb of mountains on whose 
crests no white man's feet have ever trod, into the 
Gulf of Papua, from a mouth seventy miles 
across ; clad in forests that hold imtold poten- 
tiaUties ; possessed of broad acres that yet may 
bear vast herds of cattle, and horses numerous 
enough to mount a host ; its rivers fringed with 
the agricultural plenty of a primitive people ; the 
West may, in the passage of the years, give of its 
riches to thousands, but not tiU the World is more 
crowded, more hungry than it is to-day. Mean- 
while, every pioneer of futurity must be treated 
in no niggardly spirit, but be heartened and 
encouraged on his lonely and adventurous way by 
every legitimate means at the disposal of the 
Government. 

The Customs House stood near the edge of the 
water, and as we drank our last cup of shore-tea 
with Mrs. Symons and her daughters on the 
balcony of the Sub-CoUector's quarters, the warning 
siren rang out across the roadstead where the 
trading luggers rode at anchor. So, parting with 
our kindly hostess, we were carried through the 



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FAREWELL, PAPUA 181 

mud to our boat, and at 4.50 on November 26th, 
just when a lovely rainbow spanned the passage 
from shore to shore as if in farewell, the Merrie 
England got under way, and at last we bade good- 
bye, and God-speed to Papua. 



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CHAPTER XIII. 

A LAST WORD. 

The saying " give a dog a bad name, and you 
may as weU hang him " applies with equal force 
to countries. Papua is a striking instance in point. 
Travellers returning from, and often men who 
have lived long in, a practically unknown land, 
seldom minimise its dangers and disadvantages. 
To do so would be more than human. Men again, 
who are so constituted physically as to be suscep- 
tible to malaria in its more malignant form, 
naturally on their return look back with jaundiced 
eyes on the scene of their past sufferings and ever- 
recurring inheritance of pain. Further, the fact 
that odd missioners, officials, and traders have 
been kiUed and in rare instances eaten, in some 
instances probably, because they deserved it, — 
often as a result of their own rashness, not seldom 
because they have been so unlucky as to reap a 
legacy of vengeance sown by unscrupulous men of 
their own race— has in the past helped to supply 
the colouring for a painting of this daughter of 
the coral seas, of which the best that can be said 
is that it is an overdrawn picture, but in no sense 
a fair or faithful Hkeness, That men have suffered 
loss of fortune, health, and life while treading the 



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PAPUA AND AUSTRALIA 183 

paths of official duty, mission enterprise, and 
private speculation, is true. It is alike true that 
men die sacrificed on the altar of public duties, 
martyrs for Christ in city slums, and as a result 
of private over-work in every country in the 
Western world. But the vast majority do not, 
neither do a majority die or indeed become either 
physical or financial wrecks in Papua. 

To compare it with the Commonwealth climati- 
cally, socially, or from the standpoint of settlement, 
as the term is at present understood at any rate in 
Southern Australia, would be manifestly absurd, 
but even in this connection it is interesting to 
recall the fact that Australia faced by the 
pioneers and their heroic wives was a wilderness 
unoccupied save by wandering tribes of blacks, 
often swept by droughts and bush fires, and in no 
sense so generally healthy as it is to-day ; and that 
even now in many parts of Northern Queensland 
reasonable hygienic conditions are obtained only as 
a result of opening up the country by settlement. 

To-day Papau is where AustraUa was one hun- 
dred years ago, with the additional handicap 
of a worse climate, a more difficult seaboard, and 
the fact that some of her best products must come 
into competition with those of tropical Australia. 
Her compensations are that she starts her career 
over one hundred years ahead of her elder sister, 
and consequently can call on science, electricity, 
and steam, to aid her development, and can look 



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184 ACROSS PAPUA 

to the ever-increasing wants both of the Western 
and the swiftly awakening Eastern worlds to find 
markets for her wares. Nor need her tropical 
climate be any fatal bar to her onward progress, 
for her native population is both numerous and 
agricultural in its instincts, and only wants firm, 
honourable, and kindly handling to develop quali- 
ties of at least comparative industry which would 
be alike helpful to agricultural development, and 
the material and moral good of the natives them- 
selves. 

Her rainfall is as a whole regular and abundant, 
whUe as regards her rivers and general water 
conditions she compares most favourably with 
Austraha. 

Less than one hundred — or to be absolutely 
exact, ninety-four years ago. Governor Macquarie, 
then ruling over what is now South Australia, 
Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales, wrote 
in the bitterness of his soul an official report on 
those districts, of which the following is an 
extract : — 

" I found the colony barely emergiag from 
infantile imbecility, and suffering various 
privations and disabilities ; the country impene- 
trable beyond forty miles from Sydney ; agriculture 
in a languishing state ; commerce in its early 
dawn ; revenue unknown ; threatened with famine ; 
distracted with factions ; the public buildings in a 
state of dilapidation, and mouldering to decay ; 



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AUSTRALIA TO-DAY 185 

the popidation in general depressed by poverty ; 
no public credit or private confidence ; the morals 
of the great mass of the population in the lowest 
state of debasement ; and religious worship almost 
totally neglected." 

And to-day — ^well, the Conservatives call the 
Socialists rascals, and vice versa, while the self- 
dubbed Liberals are sorry for both ; but taken 
bye and large, I doubt if the caustic old Pro-consul 
would write us down as short-coated imbeciles. 
If we have privations and disabihties they are 
mostly of our own making, and we can generally 
do our own mending. We have left no space 
imcharted within the wash of our encircling seas. 
Each year the plough drives deeper into the heart 
of our virgin lands ; commerce has merged from 
dawn into the fuller light of wealth-compelling 
day ; our revenues expand with each succeeding 
year ; and soon irrigation and a more systematic 
storing in our years of plenty wiU banish famine 
from our sand-swept deserts. True we are distracted 
by factions, or rather most of our Governments 
are, but given good seasons we can stand it, if they 
can, while if we have bad, the most scientific 
system of political economy ever evolved is as 
useless as a Chinese cracker for a rain compeller, 
and from an industrial standpoint nothing else 
is worth getting distracted about. Our public 
buildings are solid guarantees that we are neither 
depressed nor, indeed, poverty-stricken. Why 



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186 ACROSS PAPUA 

should we be, when we are about the richest 
people fer capita in the world ! As to our morals, 
well, I suspect they are as good as our neighbours', 
and perhaps better than some of those who cry- 
out against them ; whUe, if we don't crowd the 
churches to an uncomfortable extent, we fill the 
hospital boxes to the brim, and worship God by 
feeding the hungry and ministering to the sick 
and suffering, be their call from the ends of the 
Earth. 

So, looking back to Governor Macquarie's vivid 
word picture, which I have no reason to suppose 
was unduly overdrawn, and then turning to that 
which of my own knowledge I know to be in all 
essentials true, I feel that splendid possibilities 
also he waiting in the womb of time for Papua. 

No man could possibly write such a despatch 
from Port Moresby to-day as Macquarie penned 
from Sydney in 1813, nor do I imagine any man 
will be able even one hundred years hence to point 
to a progress so splendid as Australia's has been, 
but much scope for noble achievement lies ahead 
of Papua's children, both native born, and 
adopted, and I beheve they will yet build it into 
an outpost of the Commonwealth, strong, self- 
contained, united, and free from aU reproach of 
cruelty or wrong. 



THE END. 



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APPENDIX. 

LAND IN PAPUA. 

It is only possible to lease Crown lands in Papua, 
as the Government will not sell. Leases are 
issued for periods not exceeding ninety-nine years, 
and the terms are most liberal. Crown lands are 
classified: (a) Those fit for agriculture, and (b) 
lands not suited for that purpose, such as grazing 
country. No survey fees are charged, but a 
deposit must be paid, £1 being the amount for 
100 acres or less, £2 for 100 acres to 500 acres, 
£5 for 500 to 1,000 acres, and £10 for over 1,000 
acres. For agricultural land the rent is fixed at 
5 per cent, on the unimproved value. No rent, 
however, is payable for the first ten years, and for 
the second ten years the payment is not to exceed 
6d. per acre. The unimproved value will be 
appraised every twenty years during the lease, 
and the rent determined accordingly, and if the 
latter should be raised by more than one-third, 
the lessee may disclaim the lease and receive com- 
pensation for improvements. For Class B lands 
no rent is chargeable in the first ten years, and 
not more than 10s, per annum for every 1,000 
acres during the second ten years. After that 
the rent is fixed at 2| per cent, on the unimproved 



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188 APPENDIX 

value, appraised every twenty years ; but, should 
it be raised by more than one-quarter, the lease 
may be thrown up and the lessee receive com- 
pensation for improvements. 

All the leases are subject to improvement con- 
ditions. On agricultural leases one-tenth of the 
area is to be planted with approved plants within 
the first two years, one-fifth in five years, two- 
fifths in ten years, three-quarters in twenty years, 
and for the remainder of the term three-quarters 
are to be kept planted. On pastoral leases the 
land is to be stocked within ten years, and be 
kept stocked, twenty head of cattle or one hundred 
sheep or goats to be maintained to the square mile. 



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INDEX. 



Abel, Rev. M., 52 
Aborigine, A Prehistoric, 166 
Agricultvire, Native Methods of, 57, 

100 
Albert Edward, Mount, 113, 135 
Alcohol, Effects of, 134 
Alligator, Adventure with an, 41 
Anlplet Group, 73 
Annexation, Reasons for, 17 
Anthony, 145 

Astrolabe District, The, 25, 164 
Axes, Stone, 174 

Bakai Tribe, 94 

Ballantine, Mr., 30, 158 

Ballentine, Mr., 76 

Hampton, 15 

Bturier Reef, 5 

Barron River and Falls, The, 9 

Bartle Bay, 77 

Barton, Capt., 18, 152, 154, 156 

Baxter River, 16 

Beliefs and Superstitious, 25, 38, 69, 

70, 75, 77, 102, 142, 149 
Bellamy, Mr., 71 
Beregi, Sergt., 104 
Berindiri Race, 92 
Bwaidoga, 76 
Bird Shooting, 74 
Birds of ParEidise, Snarer of, 99 
Blackwood, Capt., 15 
Blood Money, 82 
Bougainville, M. de, 15 
Bramble Cay, 171 
Bramell, Mr., 24, 30, 36 
Bridges, Native, 100, 105, 107, 109, 

110 
Brisbane, 5 

Bromilow, Rev. W. E., 40 
Brown River, 143, 167 
Bruce, Mr., 121, 132, 135, 144, 145, 

178 
"Bucoucuna" (Dance), 73 
Buna Bay, 88, 133 



Buna-Yodda Road, 110 

Burial, Native Methods of, 139, 

142, 149 
Bushimi, Chief, 88 



Cairns, 7 

Campbell, Mr., 57 

Cannibalism, 74, 83, 92, 97, 102, 

108 
Canoes, 67 
Carriers, 91, 121, 127, 128, 137, 

145, 162 
Carteret, 15 
Carved Spoons, 69 
Cattle, 78, 168 
Chain Gang, A, 17 
Chalmers, Dr., 40 
Charms, Native, 20, 22, 114 
Chiefs, Position of, 69, 131, 154, 

157 
China Straits, 56 
Christianity, First Papuan Convert 

to, 24 
Climbing Trees, Native Method of, 

101 
Clock, The New Guinea, 99 
Clothing, European, of Natives, 24, 

71, 90, 157 

Suitable for Travel, 90, 123 

Churches Built by Natives, 25 
Cocoa-nuts, 37, 43, 57, 78, 94, 168, 

170 
Coffee-growing, 101, 158-161 
Colonizing, Possibilities of, 32, 54, 

56, 78, 120, 158, 168, 170, 177- 

181 
Constabulary, Armed Native, 86, 

91, 109, 116, 117, 137 
Constance, M., 15 
Cook, 15 

Cooking, Native Method of, 149 
Cooktown, 10, 13 
Copland-King, Rev., 40 



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190 



INDEX 



Copper Mine, 163 
Copra, 44 
Correngei, 16 
Crab, Van der, 16 
Creation, Legend of the, 70 
Cricket played by Natives, 53 
Customs, Strange, 149 

D'Albertis, Quotation from, 1 

Dambia, 15 

Dampier, 15 

Dances, Native, 22, 27, 73, 119 

Dancy, Mr., 169 

Darnley Island, 172 

Daru, 173 

Dawson Straits, 61 

Death, Native Respect of, 143 

D'Entrecastreau, 15 

Derby, Lord, and Annexation of 

Papua, 17 
Dialects, Multiplicity of, 20 
Digger, A Grateful, 111 
Diseases, Skin, 19, 46, 63, 72, 92 
Divide, The, 107 
Dobu, Island of, 62 
Dobus (Houses), 171 
Dogura, 78 

Driuk, A Comparison of, 134 
Dubu or Temple, 24 

East Cape, 61 

Education, Native, of Children, 171 

Edwards, Capt., 15 

Egofi River, 149 

Egum Group, 67 

Ela Beach, 14, 164 

EngUsh, Mr., 31 

English, Teaching Natives, 76, 175 

Equipment for March, 90, 92 

Ermelo, 170 

Etna, The, 15 

Fairfax Harbour, 167 

Fergusson Island, 56, 61, 73 

Fems, Tree, 140 

Ficus elastica, 33 

Ficus rigo, 33 

Fife Bay, 46 

Fire, Native Method of Producing, 

149 
Fish, Method of Obtaining, 68 
Flowers, Native Love of, 27, 110, 

115 
Fly River, 15, 174, 177-179 
Fruits, 9, 31, 37, 43, 47, 56, 93, 96, 

104, 120, 124, 151, 159, 161 



Gap, The, 121 
Geelvink Bay, 15 
Grenocohi, Dr., 40 
" George," 18, 144, 167 
Goldie River, 149 
Green, Mr., 86 
Greene, Mr., 158 
Griffin, Mr., 171 
Griffiths, Miss, 61 
Guide, Our Infamoijs, 131 
Guinea, New, 15 
Gullet, Miss, 11 
Outhrie, The s.s., 3 

Hardwood, An Ant-Resisting, 178 
Harris, Mr. Edward, Secretary of 

Commission, 3, 89, 151 
Headache, Primitive Cure of, 102 
Hemp, Sisal, 31 

Herbert, Mr. Charles Edward, 7 
Herbertshohe, 44 
Higginson, Mr., 81 
"Hillworth," 164 
Houses, Native, 20, 37, 116 
Hula, 37 

Himter, Capt., 30, 178 
Hunting Lodge, Native, 135 

lorobaiva, 144 

Irrigation, Native Scheme of, 77 

Iruta Puna, 149 

" Isla del Oro," 14 

Islands, Building of Artificial, 36 

Jiear, Mr., 174 
Jones, Dr., 71, 106 

Kagi, 132 
Kandarita, 94 
Kapa Kapa, 30 
Kapok Trees, 31 
Kawai Sergeant, 117 
Kerepuna, 37 
" Ki Ki," 98 
Kilkeran, 75 
King, Rev. Copland, 78 
Kira Kira, 23 
Kiriwiria, 68 
Kiwais, The, 176 
Knutsford, Mount, 151 
Kokoda, 109, 115-122 
Korabada, 23 
Kumusi River, 102 
Kuranda, 9 
Kurogaru, 142 
Kwato, 52 



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INDEX 



191 



Labour Questions, 32, 50, 53 

Lakatois, 21, 167 

Laloki River, 162 

Lamington, Mount, 99, 124 

Land, 187 

Langeweldt, 16 

Lawes, Dr., 16, 35 

Lawes, Mount, 162 

Leeches, 125 

Lessons of our March, 153 

Little, The Hon. W., 56, 90, 114 

Maodonald, Head Gaoler, 19 

Macfarlane, Rev. Dr. S., 40 

Mackay, 5 

Maclaren, Rev. A. A., 40 

Mails, System of Carrying, 148 

Malaita, The, 11 

Malaria, 2, 46, 47, 85, 91, 144, 147, 

154, 182 
Mambare Beach, 85 
Mambare River, 109 
Maneri, 142 
Manning, Mr., 81 
Marshall Bennett Group, 67 
Massacres by Natives, 59, 85, 131 
Maulai, 24 
McGregor, Sir William, 13, 18, 38, 

83, 157 
Mollwraith, Sir Thomas, 16 
McLaughlin's Creek, 120 
McMaster, Matron, 66 
Menesis, Don Jorge de, 14 
Merrie England, The, 29, 167 
Milne Bay, 56 
Miners, 51, 112 
Mines, Copper, 163 
— — Waria, 115 

Woodlark, 64-66 

Yodda, 110-114 

Minter, Capt., 163 

Mission Stations, 16, 19, 35, 45, 52, 
71, 76, 77, 78, 168, 169, 170, 174 
Missionaries: Mr. Abel, 52 

Dr. Lawes, 16, 35 
Mr. Pearse, 37 
Mr. Ramsay, 52 
Mr. Rich, 45 
Mr. Turner, 35 

Work of, 40, 45. 52, 

168, 174 
Ifissionary Societies :^ 
Jesuit, 16, 168 

London, 16, 35, 45, 169, 171, 173 
Methodist, 62, 71, 76 
Queensland, 19 



Mistake, A Regrettable, 23 

" Mitre Rock," 85 

Monckton, Mount, 103 

Monckton, Mr., 89, 90, 129, 135, 

138 
Moresby, Capt., 16 
Moresby Passage, 75 
Morton, Hon. M., 71 
Mosquitoes, 46, 47, 55, 85, 91, 92 
Moss covering Trees, 126, 127, 136 
Mourning, Native Sign of, 67, 149 
Murray, Judge, 146 
Musgrave, Mr., 18, 143 

Naigara, 58 

Natives, Treatment of, 59, 82, 87, 

155, 176 
Navarre, Archbishop, 168 
Navigation, Difficulties of, 43 
Naylor, Mr., 109, 110 
Nelson, Cape, 80 
Normanby Island, 56, 61 

O'Brien, 118 

Ogi of Pig Fame, 137 

Opie River, 144 

Ora Bay, 84 

Orchids, 130 

Orokolos, Meaning of Word, 94 

Owen Stanley Range, 37, 128, 136 

Oya, 88, 135 

Papua Annexation, Reason for, 17 

Crossing of, 88, 152 

First Visitors to, 14 

Future of, 113, 182, 186 

GuH of, 170 

Name Origin of, 14 

— • — Security in, 31 

The Twin " Giants ' of, 85 

Papuan, Dishonesty of the, 70 

Honesty of the, 96 

Physical Characteristics of 

the, 21, 42, 96, 98, 118, 140, 

146, 176 
Possibilities of the, 53, 69, 87, 

105, 118, 156, 158, 171, 176 
(See also Agriculture, Bridges, 
Burial, Cannibalism, Carriers, 
Charms, Chiefs, Churches, Cloth- 
ing, Cooking, Customs, Dances, 
Death, Education, Fire, Fish, 
Flowers, Houses, Irrigation, 
Labour, Massacres, Mourning, 
Natives, Population, Religion, 
Smoking, Songs, Sorcerers, Web- 
footed, Weapons, Women) 



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192 



INDEX 



Parasite, The Vegetable, 64 

Pari, 23 

Parry-Okeden, Mr. William Edward, 

4, 89, 164 
Pearls, 69, 173 
Pearse, Mr., 37 
Percy Island, 5 
Philp, 6 

Photography, Difficulties of, 121 
Pig, A Great, 135 
Piae-apples, 151, 159 
Pinkenba Wharf, 4 
Population, Decline in, 141 
Port Moresby, 13, 19, 165 
Pottery, Ancient, 114 

Ranisay, Rev., 52 

Redscar Bay, 16, 167 

Religion and the Papuan, 38 

Retez, Ynigo Ortiz de, 14 

Rich, Mr., 45 

Rigo, 31 

Riley, Mr., 174 

River, Methods of Crossing, 100, 

104, 107, 109 
Road, The Future, 133 
Rocky Creek, 105 
Rodney, Cape, 43 
Rohu, 172 

Rossel Island Massacre, 59 
Rouna Falls, 163 
Rubber, 31-34, 56, 159 

Saavedra, Alvarez de, 14 
Sago Fleet, The, 21 
Saraajrai, 49 
Schouten, 15 
Scrub-itch, 125 
Sedu, Corporal, 86 
Sentinel Islands, 6 
Sepulchre, A Strange, 139 
Serigina, 130, 140 
Sheep, 169 

Smoking, Native Method of, 150 
eri, 151 
Horses at, 157 
Songs, Native, 41, 141 
Sorcerers, 37, 60, 69, 106 
Steenboom, Capt., 15 
Stone- Wigg, Bishop, 96 



Strong, Dr., 170 
Sugar Cane, 143 
Sulphur Springs, 62 
Swann, 16 
Symons, Mrs., 180 

Tamata, The Massacre at, 85 
Tasman, Abel, 15 
Tea as a Drink, 134 
Teysman, 16 
Theodore, Father, 168 
Timber, 177 
Tobacco, 150, 178 
Torres, Inis Vaez de, 15 
Townsville, 6 
Trobriand Group, 67 
Turner, Mr., 35 

Undesirables, 51 

Vagi, 30 

Vatorata, 35 

Vapagori, 23 

Vegetation, 9, 31, 37, 43, 47, 51. 
56, 64, 93, 96, 98, 101, 116, 130, 
126, 127, 140, 158, 173, 177 

VerguB, Bishop, 40 

Venapi River, 141 

Victoria, Mount, 142 

Victory, Mount, 80 

Wamaia, 143 

Waria, The, 115, 136 

Watson, Mrs., 11 

Weapon, A Curious, 68 

Weapons, Native, 31, 174 

Web-footed Natives, Supposed, 81 

Weekley, Hon. F., 65 

White Man's Prestige, 147 

Whitten Bros., 43, 50 

Whitten, Hon. W., 56 

Whitsunday Pass, 5 

Women, Position of, 27, 55, 60, 

141, 145 
Woodlark Island and Mines, 63-66 

Yodda Road, The, 100 
Yodda Goldfield, 110-114 
Yule Island, 167 
Yule Mount, 136, 170 



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